Do contracts end automatically in the event of death?

Contracts do not simply end automatically when our loved ones leave us. So it is important to inform the contractual partners and terminate contracts. In some cases, special termination options apply in the event of a death.

Terminating contracts in the event of death – how do I proceed?

The most important thing is: No contract ends if the contractual partner is not informed about the death. So, remember to cancel insurance policies (health insurance, household insurance, accident and life insurance, etc.), subscriptions and memberships in clubs and associations, etc. and also to inform the driver and vehicle licensing office.

The right of termination under tenancy law provides for an extraordinary right of termination in the event that the tenant dies. The heirs of the deceased person may terminate the agreement on the next admissible termination date by giving the legally prescribed notice (three months’ notice for residential premises and six months’ notice for commercial premises). The relatives are also entitled to this right of termination if the rental agreement contains specific provisions for later termination. It is important that the heirs exercise their extraordinary right to terminate immediately.

Other areas also have special provisions in the event of death of a contractual partner: a mobile subscription, for example, is terminated on the day of death and does not pass to the heirs if they do not wish this. However, the condition is that neither relatives nor third parties continue to use the connection.

Checklist – which contracts must be terminated in the event of death?

First, gain an overview of all of the deceased person’s contracts. Then, inform the deceased person’s contractual partners and, if necessary, terminate the contracts:

We recommend terminating contracts by registered mail. Some companies have online forms on their homepage that a relative of the deceased person can fill out in order to terminate the contract. In order to save unnecessary costs, it is best to terminate contracts as quickly as possible.

Who else has to be notified?

For the sake of completeness, you should always include the death certificate when notifying about death of a relative. In order to notify many contractual parties quickly, you can use, for example, a template with all relevant information about the deceased person and send this to many different places.

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