Coping with bereavement administration

Co-op has launched a free bereavement service to help families deal with a late loved one’s affairs amidst the Coronavirus outbreak in the UK. 

The unique service has been created to help people close bank accounts, log off social media accounts and navigate the legal procedure. 

On average bereaved people are left to deal with 12 accounts on behalf of a late loved one. 

Co-op Legal Services has launched a Bereavement Notification and Advice Service to help people deal with a late loved one’s affairs.  

Recognising the demand and unexpected loss people are facing due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the unique service will mean bereaved people can access help informing financial institutions, stopping junk mail and logging off social media.   

Across the UK loved ones are left to deal with an average of 12 organisations from registering a death, using the Government’s Tell us Once service, dealing with pension providers, insurers and utility providers and corresponding with the Coroner.  

Research conducted by the Co-op showed 25% of bereaved people found administering their loved one’s estate stressful, 15% found it upsetting and 8% had to take time off work. 

In addition, there’s junk mail to stop and instructions to be sent to banks and building societies to freeze or close accounts to reduce the risk of fraud.  

However, each service comes with a unique process, specific information requirements and timeframes, that most people perhaps wouldn’t be aware of unless having gone through the ordeal previously.  

The Co-op is hoping to relieve this added pressure on bereaved people across the country, by supporting them through the various processes, providing advice and pre-populated letters. 

The service includes guidance on how to log off social media accounts, an increasingly complex process, with the average person now having between five and nine accounts, according to recent research by Co-op.  

Caoilionn Hurley, Managing Director of Co-op Legal Services and Life Planning said: “Families struggle with the sheer volume of organisations that need to be told about the death of a loved one and now Co-op can be there to help and support.  

“Dealing with a late loved one’s affairs is never easy, but the current situation is making it impossible for people to grieve and come to terms with their loss. As a result, sorting out paperwork and informing banks can feel like an unbearable task. However, it’s crucial that people do take action as soon as possible, to prevent fraud and not prolong the grieving process.   

Andrew Hagger, Personal Finance Expert from Moneycomms.co.uk said: “This is a very useful time saving resource for those left to deal with the paperwork and admin after a loved one has passed away. 

This type of free support will prove invaluable at such an emotional and stressful time. Having all the information in one place is a great idea and gives people some much needed help and support, especially when some may have nobody else to turn to.” 

Co-op’s Bereavement Notification and Advice Service includes: 

  • Help in navigating the legal procedure with social distancing in mind 
  • Help in notifying organisations that need to know about the death, like banks, building societies and pension providers
  • Stopping junk mail being sent to the deceased
  • Explaining legal jargon so it’s easier to understand, including navigating potential legal issues and the coroner and inquest process 
  • Advice on closing social media accounts
  • Information on how to access the Government’s Tell us Once service and in regions where it’s not available, providing pre-populated letters to help families notify government institutions such as the DWP and DVLA about the death
  • Guidance on social security benefits which may be available following the loss of a loved one. 
  • Guidance on what to consider when informing utility providers 
  • Advice on car or property insurance issues to prevent issues with insurance cover
  • Explaining how to make sure empty properties are secure
  • Assisting the family to understand possible carer redundancy entitlements. 

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