Closing accounts after death of husband

Dear Experian,

My husband died on July 10, 2009. I am closing out nearly all the credit cards he had. How will that affect my credit score?



Dear PRE,

Be cautious about closing the accounts. If they are joint, it could have a very negative impact on your credit scores.

You shared equal responsibility for joint accounts with your husband, so they appear on your credit report and his.

If the accounts are positive, you may not want to close them, because they are helping your creditworthiness. Closing the accounts will reduce your available credit and could have a negative impact on your credit scores.

I recommend that you get a copy of your credit report to identify any accounts that are also a part of your history. Before closing the accounts, carefully consider which you may want to keep and use. There may be some you want to close, but others that you decide to keep open in order to retain a strong credit history and access to credit you might need.

For information on how to ensure that your husband’s credit history has a deceased indicator, see my column to MRB on May 27, 2009.

I’m so sorry for your loss.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team