When a family member dies, an obvious step for many people is to take out a notice of death, either in print or on a website. It may even be something that you’re responsible for if you are named the executor of an estate. Of course, there are some things that people may forget to consider, especially if they haven’t had to deal with the death of a loved one before. A recent warning published by the Ontario Provincial Police and reported in the London Free Press warns of the dangers of publishing the address of a recently deceased.
Funeral details + address = risk
Police in Middlesex and Elgin County released a statement earlier in September stating they had seen a “sudden increase” in break ins occurring during funeral ceremonies. The police said it appears that the burglars were targeting homes when they knew people would be away.
The OPP’s Constable Edward Sanchuk told the Free Press that “it’s a bit more common than people anticipate. People do read the obituary ads and do commit break-and-enters by knowing it will be vacant during those times.”
The OPP mentioned a funeral-related theft that occurred in the area two years ago which resulted in the arrest of two women, who were seen moving items from the deceased’s home while the funeral was taking place. Fortunately a neighbour spotted the suspicious activity and alerted police, leading to an arrest.
The OPP said that other types of scams following deaths have popped up, including fake online donation campaigns where people think they are donating money to cover funeral expenses, but in reality the fundraiser was set up by a fraudster.
It doesn’t have to be said that a break-and-enter is the last thing people dealing with a death in the family should have to endure, with Sanchuk adding, “It’s absolutely a gut-turning occurrence to deal with.”
In order to avoid these types of incidents, the police recommend sharing funeral arrangements in ways other than obituaries.
Police also advice that people let their close friends and neighbours know if they plan to be away for a funeral or a long stretch of time and to call the police if they notice any suspicious activity.
In the aftermath of the death of a loved one, dealing with any necessary logistics related to their estate can be overwhelming and stressful. However, if you have been named as an executor, there are several legal issues that must be addressed right away to effectively manage risks and liabilities, protect the estate, and ensure beneficiaries are taken care of.
At NULaw, we can help you as little or as much as you like – from simply drafting documents to acting as your agent in all your executor duties. We work with executors on a one-on-one basis to ensure they receive the personalized advice they need to effectively and lawfully carry out their duties and obligations. Contact us online or at 416-481-5604 to book a consultation today.