How do you stop mail for a deceased person

There’s an overwhelming number of things to deal with when a close one dies. Taking care of the funeral, managing the deceased’s will, and sending death certificates. And all of this while you’re grieving. 

A river of mail coming to the deceased person’s home is yet another thing for you to deal with during this already difficult time. 

There are several options available to you if you want to stop mail for a deceased person from coming. But before you do, you may want to try some more temporary solutions first. These are helpful immediately after your loved one dies, as you work on closing their accounts, including any outstanding payments or requests, and managing their personal correspondence.

In short, here’s how to stop mail for a deceased person:

  1. Ask the post office to discontinue all mail service to the deceased person. 
  2. Return the deceased person’s mail to the sender.
  3. Forward mail delivery to your own address in the period immediately following death.
  4. Sign them up with the Deceased Do Not Contact (DDNC) List.
  5. Remove their data from the internet, or use a data removal service.

Ask the post office to discontinue all mail service to the deceased person 

Stopping mail delivery completely following a person’s death is possible but should only be done once all the formalities related to their estate are complete. It usually takes at least one year for all the various legal processes, such as probate, to be over. Once you have fulfilled your role as the appointed executor, you can ask the post office to discontinue all mail service to the deceased person. 

The process to completely stop delivery varies from one post office to another. It’s best to call the deceased person’s local post office and ask for details. Some post offices will have you come in person with all the necessary documents; others will use an online form. 

Be aware that only the estate executor, who is responsible for managing the deceased person’s last wishes and will, can make the request, and that’s only after the estate is closed. A probate court order clearing you from responsibilities as the estate executor will likely require the United States Postal Service (USPS) to stop mail delivery.

Return the deceased’s mail to sender

You can use the “return to sender” option by simply writing “deceased return to sender” on the envelope of each piece of mail addressed to the deceased and leaving it in your mailbox for the carrier to pick up. Be aware that the return-to-sender service will only work with first-class mail. The USPS will likely discard non-first-class mail if you write “return to sender” on it. 

Alternatively, you can bring all their mail to your local USPS office, and ask for it to be returned to the sender. 

Forward all mail addressed to the deceased person to your own mailing address 

If you didn’t share the same address with the deceased person but have been appointed to manage the deceased person’s estate, you may want to start by forwarding all of their mail to your own mailing address. 

According to estate planning rules, you have the right to open their correspondence, which in turn will help you close any ongoing matters such as unpaid bills and bank accounts and cancel any subscriptions. 

To place a mail forwarding request:

  1. Go to a post office in person.
  2. Provide proof that you are authorized to manage the deceased person’s mail, the death certificate, and your photo ID.
  3. Fill out a change of address request.

If you did share the same address with the deceased person but don’t hold the probate order to manage their estate and want to stop receiving mail addressed to them, you can forward it individually to the appropriate person.

To do this:

  1. Cross out your address on the envelope.
  2. Write “forward” and the new address on the front of the envelope.
  3. Leave the envelope in your mailbox, drop it off in a blue collection box, or leave it at the post office’s lobby.

Register the deceased with the Deceased Do Not Contact List

Although the post office honors forwarding orders and “deceased return to sender,” you’ll probably still receive some junk mail addressed to your late family member or friend. Start by adding the deceased person’s name to the Deceased Do Not Contact List. 

The list is provided by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), a trade association for organizations engaged in direct, digital, and data-driven marketing. Follow the steps below to take the deceased person’s name off commercial marketing lists:

  1. Go to
  2. Fill out the information about the deceased as well as your contact details.
  3. Solve the CAPTCHA.
  4. Pay the $1 authentication fee.
how do you stop mail for a deceased person: Deceased do not contact

If junk mail continues to come, you’ll have to contact each of the companies and ask them to stop sending promotional mail or cancel the subscription.

Use a data removal service

Sadly, opting out of marketing lists will not remove the deceased person’s name from people search sites and other data brokers. These companies often share and sell personal information without asking for consent and will keep facilitating the sending of junk mail long after someone has died. 

To stop unwanted mail addressed to the deceased person, it’s best to remove all their data from the internet. It’s a daunting task requiring many hours of work, but it will drastically reduce the amount of junk mail and number of phone calls you receive. If you don’t have the time or patience to deal with this alone, you can try a data removal service.

A data removal service will send (and then periodically re-send) opt-out requests on your behalf, saving you hours of tedious work and making sure the decedent’s personal data doesn’t resurface over time.


Does the post office stop mail for a deceased person?

The post office will stop mail for a deceased person once the probate process is complete and if a request is made by a legal representative of the deceased person. USPS does not have a unified process, so it’s best to contact your local post office and ask for details. 

Can you return mail to the sender?

Yes, you can return a deceased person’s mail to the sender. However, mail services will only return first-class mail. Any other type of mail will be returned to the post office and discarded. 

How do I get on a do not mail list?

You can opt out of direct marketing agencies’ lists by filling out a request and paying a $4 fee to Your registration will last ten years. You can also send your opt-out request via mail to DMAchoice, Consumer Preferences, P.O. Box 900, Cos Cob, CT 06807, along with a $5 processing fee.

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