Estate Planning 101

Notifying Discover Financial After a Loved One’s Passing

September 13, 2023

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Following the death of a loved one, there are numerous practical matters to attend to, one of which is notifying their financial institutions. This includes banks like Discover Financial. Notifying the bank helps prevent fraud, protect the estate, and ensure the correct distribution of funds.

Who Should Be Notified

Discover Financial, or any other bank where the deceased held an account, should be notified of their death. This includes checking or savings accounts, credit cards, loans, or investment accounts managed by the institution.

When to Notify

You should notify Discover Financial as soon as possible after the death of the account holder. This is important to secure the deceased's accounts and prevent unauthorized transactions.

How to Notify

To notify Discover Financial of a customer's death, you should call their customer service line. For banking services, the number is 1-800-347-7000. For credit card services, the number is 1-800-DISCOVER. You'll likely need to provide a copy of the death certificate, either by mail or fax, and you may also need to provide additional documentation, such as a copy of the will or a court letter of appointment, if you're the executor of the estate.

What to Expect After Notification

After notification, Discover Financial will freeze the deceased's accounts to prevent unauthorized transactions. They will then guide you through the next steps, which may include closing accounts, transferring funds, or paying off any outstanding debts. This process will depend on whether there is a co-owner on the account or if the deceased left instructions in their will.

Tips for Notification

Before calling Discover Financial, gather all necessary information about the deceased's accounts, including account numbers and balances if available. Keep records of all communications with the bank, including dates, times, and the names of any representatives you speak with. If you're unsure about anything, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.


While it's a difficult task, notifying financial institutions like Discover Financial after a loved one's death is crucial. Taking this step promptly can help protect your loved one's assets and ensure their financial affairs are properly managed.


Q: What if I don't have a death certificate yet?
A: While you can initially notify Discover Financial of the death without a certificate, they will likely require a certified copy of the death certificate to make any changes to the accounts.

Q: What happens if there's a co-owner on the account?
A: If there's a co-owner on the account, the ownership of the account typically passes to them. However, the process may vary depending on the type of account and specific circumstances.

Q: What happens to any debt in the deceased's name?
A: If the deceased had any outstanding debts with Discover, these will typically be paid out of the estate. If the estate doesn't cover the debts, they may be forgiven, but laws vary by state.