Continuing to receive mail for a recently deceased friend or relative can be a painful and frustrating experience. The United States Postal Service continues to deliver mail for deceased people until such time that they're officially notified that delivery should cease.
Unfortunately, this requires visiting a branch of the post office with legal death certificates, which can be an unpleasant experience for those who've only recently begun to grieve. Further official steps will have to be taken to notify businesses that you no longer wish to receive their junk mail.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
When a person dies, her mail should be diverted to her estate executor as soon as possible to avoid bills going unpaid and notifications going unnoticed.
Stopping a Deceased Person's Mail Delivery
Visit the local branch of the United States Postal Service with a certified copy of the death certificate and a legal notification of death from the executor of the deceased's estate. Inform the postal worker there that you want to permanently stop the delivery of any and all mail addressed to the deceased.
Ideally, all a deceased individual's mail should be forwarded to his estate's executor immediately following his death. This is especially important for mail related to the deceased's estate, like bills and account statements.
If the deceased individual didn't live with you, you can request to have all of the deceased person's mail forwarded to relative or an executor with a "Change Of Address" form. Periodicals are forwarded to the new address for 60 days and all other mail is forwarded for 12 months after this form is filed.
Halting Contact from Direct Marketers
Go to the "Deceased Do Not Contact" registration page of the Direct Marketing Association website to stop mail from direct marketers. All members of the Direct Marketing Association are required to cease all attempted communication with someone when her name is added to this list. There's no fee to add a name to this list, and any friend, relative or caregiver with the link to this registration can add a name.
Enter the name, address, phone numbers and email address of the deceased, as well as the month and year of her death and her age at the time of death. You'll also need to enter your name and email as well as your relation to the deceased.
Enter the case sensitive characters underneath the information fields you filled out to verify that you're using the site as an individual and not an automated program, then click the "Submit" button.
Moving Forward with Managing the Deceased's Accounts
Answer any phone calls from businesses and organizations in the immediate period following registration. Inform each caller that the individual is deceased, that they're officially registered on the "Do Not Contact List," and that you would like to have the person's name removed from the database immediately.
The probate process begins shortly after death. This is the court process through which the deceased's assets are passed to his beneficiaries. The estate's executor's role is to oversee this process and ensure that the deceased's assets go to the beneficiaries who are meant to receive them, as well as to ensure that the deceased's outstanding debts are paid from his estate funds. This can mean that the available funds in the estate are reduced to the point of leaving his beneficiaries just small inheritances. Sometimes, with very small estates, it even results in nothing being left for the beneficiaries.