Mobile phones have become essential to our lives. Just look around while at the store, in an airport, walking around town or anywhere else and you will see people using their cell phones talking, texting, taking pictures, creating emails and videos, and even playing games.
There are over 279 million mobile phone users in the United States. A quick look at this recent survey shows you just how much people rely on their phones… to the point where 75% of people asked admit to being addicted to them.
All that begs the question, what happens to your cell phone if something happens to you?
If you are no longer able to use or require your mobile phone services, it can be quite difficult to disconnect if you have not prepared ahead of time. Most cell phones are connected to a provider contract and that provider has certain steps that must be taken to close an account. Preparing ahead of time by capturing your login information, phone number, account number, and stated wishes for the content stored on the phone will ease the process.
A digital organizer such as Life Estate Organizer (LEO) would be perfect for this purpose. With LEO you can:
- Record all pertinent account information related to your phone.
- Legally appoint individuals to resolve all your estate settlement issues, including your cell phone.
- Share your LEO content with appointed individuals at a time chosen by you.
- Give instructions to your Executor and/or Digital Trustee as it relates to settling these issues.
- Provide proof to the service provider of permission granted to access the account and the data.
In most cases, unless someone requests access or you set-up an online tool to be activated due to inactivity in your account, nothing will happen, except the billing will continue. However, when someone requests access is when the rubber hits the road. That is when the service providers and the phone manufacturers exercise their different rules for your account to be accessed by someone else other than you. These rules can be very difficult to deal with when all your trusted individuals want to do is achieve closure for you with respect to all of these accounts.
A LEO account Makes Estate Settlement Easier
We are so confident that LEO is a great service, we offer it FREE for 30-days. Take a minute right now to get started…
- Click FREE TRIAL, enter an ID and Password.
- Click submit then click Launch and you are ready to go.
- On the upper left-hand side of the page, click Profile Scope Selection – These options let you customize your LEO Profile to match your life needs.
- Choose one or all of the options to include in your LEO account. You can always go back and add or change.
- Within each Profile you will find many detailed content areas. We recommend taking on each section in chunks and filling in what you know off the top of your head and then making a plan to complete each section as you gather the necessary information.
- Be sure to click the blue Submit button to save your work or it will auto-save.
- To find the mobile phone content, click Property, then Digital Equipment. Choose mobile phones from the dropdown menu. Add as many devices as you need to by checking the + button.
When you complete your LEO Profile, you leave your loved ones with all the data they need to make decisions on your behalf.
Keep in mind if you have multiple applications stored on your mobile phone, somewhere you will have to record your user ID, password and other login details. In LEO this can be done under Property. Click Property, Click Software Licenses and fill in the data for each application.
Disconnect from Cell Phone Disconnection Challenges
Contracts do not automatically disconnect upon death. The account remains active and unless the phone is leased or on a pay for use contract, it is considered property of the estate. If the issue is not addressed, the phone will keep charging the deceased’s estate the monthly fee.
In most states in the United States the contract becomes void upon death, but is contingent, upon notification, by the deceased’s executor, digital trustee, or other appointed trusted individuals to cancel or transfer the contract. Cancellation charges may still be applied. It is best to consult individual state policies regarding this issue.
Stored content on the phone, i.e., photos, videos, etc., is handled separately from the service agreement. See below for instructions related to securing private mobile phone content.
Service Provider Information:
Information you will need to close or transfer an AT&T Wireless Account:
- To remove a line or cancel service call 1.800.331.0500, select option #3 then select option #3.
- In order to avoid an early termination fee, provide the deceased’s Social Security Number or the deceased’s password.
- Transfer of Billing Responsibility fees won’t be charged on the user’s line of service.
- The account cannot remain active under the name and Social Security Number of the deceased person, with the exception of customers living in Oklahoma.
- A transfer of billing responsibility is required to keep the wireless number with AT&T service.
- Installment plans may be adjusted for all lines of service if the account holder is deceased.
- An unfriendly reminder, “The balance on the account is the responsibility of the estate.”
- If you know the PIN number for the deceased’s account, you can Call 611 from an AT&T wireless phone to cancel the account.
- Visit an AT&T owned retail store. Bring your photo ID and death certificate.
- For more information regarding this subject, contact AT&T.com.
Information you will need to close or transfer a Sprint/T-Mobile Account:
In order to close the account or keep the same number:
- Call T-Mobile Customer Service 1.877.746.0909 or dial 611 from a T-Mobile phone.
- For hearing impaired, Call T-Mobile Customer Service 1.877.296.1018.
- Information required to achieve a quick resolution: Name of deceased or person on the account, the mobile phone number, date of death, Last four digits of deceased’s Social Security number and name, phone number and relationship to the deceased of person requesting closure of the account. You will also need the death certificate, obituary, cremation document, funeral card, link to memorial site, probate letter, legal document from an attorney or court order.
If the deceased is from The United States, mail your request to:
PO Box 37380
Albuquerque, NM 87176-7380
If the deceased is from Puerto Rico, mail your request to:
T-Mobile/Sprint Executive Customer Relations
PO Box 191957
San Juan, PR 00919-1957
For more information regarding this subject, contact t-mobile.com.
Information you will need to close or transfer a Verizon Account:
To cancel wireless services, call Verizon Customer Support 1.800.922.0204
- Account owner’s name
- Phone number
- Account number
- Verizon account PIN
- Recent bill
- Death certificate
If there is an outstanding Device Payment Agreement your options are:
- Buy out the loan
- Return the device to Verizon.
- If neither item 1,b,i and 1,b,ii are achievable more information will be required.
To transfer service to another Verizon account you have options:
- If you are the account manager, follow the TRANSFER YOUR SERVICE process at Verizon.com
- If you are an account manager with a line on the account go to Verizon.com.
- If you are an executor of the estate, the account can easily transfer the line to you once you provide:
- Account owner’s name
- Phone number
- Account number
- Verizon account PIN
- Recent bill
- Death certificate
- Executorship appointment document.
Learn more by going to Verizon.com for more current information.
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are the three largest cell service providers in the United States. If you have another cell service provider, go to their website for their information for account closure, transfer or other information.
What to Do About Stored, Private Cell Phone Content?
Cell phone content includes digital data (photos, videos, emails, messages, applications, application content, music, stored files, etc.). This can be very challenging to manage.
If you use a smartphone and perform functions using the internet, you have a Digital Footprint. If not protected, your digital estate could be locked down forever. In some cases, the rights to the deceased’s cell phone content and applications terminates upon death since the license is between the user and the owner of the application. Once the user dies, the contract is terminated, and a court order could be required to transfer accounts. Terms and conditions and Privacy policies are very clear. Companies will not surrender anything without your password.
Additionally, it is also critical to protect against Identity theft that could threaten the estate. Laws vary by state regarding the inheritance of digital property and assets and they are everchanging. Again, establishing your wishes and providing clear direction is the best protection and the best support you can offer your loved ones.
Safeguard Against Data Storage Challenges and Fees with LEO
Step 1 – Set Up a Life Estate Organizer (LEO) Profile:
- Record account information (PIN, User ID, Password) related to your phone and applications.
- Give access to your phone and the phone’s content to trusted individuals.
- Legally appoint individuals (executor and digital trustee) to resolve these issues.
- There may be things you do not want your loved ones to know about. See the Sensitive Personal Information in the Profile Owner section of your LEO. Here you can identify information you want your PC Trustee (See Estate Settlement/Estate Trusted Individuals/PC Trustee) to quietly handle for you.
Step 2 – Decide what to do with your digital content. Options include:
- Share photos with family and friends.
- Share emails with appropriate individuals.
- Share information gathered from applications with family, friends, business associates, etc.
- Identify files. Determine what to do with files.
- Close applications at an appropriate time, especially paid for subscriptions.
- Keep, sell, destroy, dispose of the phone.
There is no defined path for an executor, digital trustee, trusted individuals and/or loved ones to follow when someone dies unless instructed by the deceased. Decisions are made by assessing the situation, taking inventory of the content on the phone and creating an action plan to save, transfer, distribute, destroy or do something else to the content to settle all issues.
Protecting your private, personal information is paramount. Making a path to resolve your life and estate matters when you’ve gone is a thoughtful, loving act. LEO will eliminate many difficult challenges involved in the settlement of your personal estate AND will grant you the Peace of Mind in knowing that you’ve done all that you can to help those you love.
Take us up on our Free Trial Offer. There is nothing to lose and so much to gain.