There are approximately 500,000 deaths registered in the UK each year. And, people rarely have an account only with one bank or building society. So, when someone dies, letting these institutions know can be both time-consuming and stressful.
The new online Death Notification Service aims to make the process of contacting banks, and closing the accounts of a loved one, easier for people who have suffered a bereavement.
In the past, people have had to contact each bank individually, and this could be highly stressful due to different institutions having different reporting procedures. What’s more, when someone is grieving, it can be difficult to repeat the same conversation with several different organisations. Also, it was not uncommon for financial institutions to subject families to insensitive questions and treatment; often because they were not put through to the right department straight away.
As such, the creation of a secure and straightforward way to let financial institutions know about the death of a customer is long overdue.
How does it work?
The Death Notification Service – which is free to use – aims to reform the way banks treat bereaved customers.
The system is similar to (but separate from) the Tell Us Once notification tool which can be used to report a death to most government departments.
With the new service, people fill in a form online, at a time that is convenient for them. The notifier simply selects which banks they want to be informed about the death.
Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Nationwide, RBS and Santander UK have all signed up to the initiative, and it is expected that other banks and building societies will be encouraged to join.
Once the process is complete, the selected institutions will update their records and contact the person who filled out the form to let them know what needs to happen next. This communication should happen within ten calendar days.
To access the service go to deathnotificationservice.co.uk. Once an account is created, people have three months to update the form if they find more bank accounts.
The service can be used by anyone, including family members, carers, friends and professionals.
For those who prefer not to use the internet, there is also the option to access the service by telephone.