A new service has launched which offers bereaved families across the UK a free, simple and secure way to notify multiple companies of the death of a loved one.
The new account closure service from online startup Settld, removes much of the stress associated with having to individually contact banks, insurers, mobile and broadband providers, TV subscription services and others, to inform them of the death of a friend or family member.
Co-founder of Settld, Julie Wilson, from Seaham, County Durham, dreamt up the automated service with her daughter after facing similar stress due to a family bereavement. She said:
“More than 105,000 people across the UK have died over the last year from COVID-19 alone. More than 600,000 people die in an average year. Each of those people leaves behind loved ones who need to deal, through their grief, with the paperwork and admin that goes with death.
“Settld will help settle the affairs of those close to you, and our account closure service will ease some of the unnecessary pain and anxiety faced by those who’ve recently lost a loved one.”
Members of the public can upload the necessary documents via a secure page at Settld.care, after which Settld will automatically notify service providers of a death and of the need to close or transfer accounts.
The Government’s Tell Us Once service allows people to notify someone’s death for government related services in one go. Settld’s free service notifies all other companies – banks, building societies, insurance, utility companies, along with personal and household services providers. Settld has received public backing from charities and funeral directors.
Rachel Bradburne, Policy and Public Affairs Manager for the National Association of Funeral Directors, said: “We welcome the new service from Settld. It provides an ideal companion to the Government’s Tell Us Once service for the many different accounts we have in our lives today.
“Grieving families find end of life admin extremely difficult and an online service which allows them, for free, to notify a death to multiple service providers in one go – and which also allows them to close accounts of their loved ones – is a crucial step in helping improve bereavement support. That’s why the NAFD also backs a new Bereavement Standard.”
Johnny Timpson, Access Ambassador for the financial services industry and PM Champion, and a mental health campaigner, said:
“We know that the pandemic has caused untold pain to tens of thousands of families across Britain, and the mental health impact has been huge.
“While some companies make it easier than others, account closures are a lot for grieving families to sort out. That’s why services like Settld’s are becoming ever more important. Their automated system to notify multiple companies of someone’s death will help to relieve some of the end of life admin faced by the bereaved. I would encourage people to use the Settld service and to tell their friends about it.”
Settld was founded by Julie and Vicky Wilson after the personal experience of losing Vicky’s grandmother 18 months ago. The pair are determined to remove for others the stress associated with having to close multiple accounts of someone who has died.
Vicky Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Settld, said:
“There’s now no need to ring each and every company to tell them that your grandparent, or husband or wife, sister or brother, or child has died. Our automated system takes care of that and alleviates time wasted hanging on the end of a phone, or sending countless emails.
“Over the last few weeks as we’ve tested our service among a small group of customers, we’ve found that we’ve been able to save them hundreds of pounds by closing monthly subscription services early, rather than having payments roll-on unnoticed in the background.
“For the moment, while we continue to seek a Bereavement Standard, Settld is reliant on businesses co-operating and playing their part in closing and transferring the accounts in question, in reasonable time. The benefit of using Settld’s service is that we look after all the hassle for you, saving you the trouble of chasing companies to resolve your case.”
Settld is also available to Probate law firms and councils who need to notify organisations of a death, on behalf of their clients and those in council care.
Julie and Vicky also co-founded the Bereavement Standard campaign with Cruse Bereavement Care. This has been featured on BBC1’s Rip Off Britain and was debated in parliament last week. Their petition at change.org/bereavementstandard has so far attracted more than 92,000 signatures.
The campaign is backed by leading charities including Sue Ryder, Marie Curie, Parkinsons UK, MND, and the Alzheimer’s Society among others.
An early day motion in parliament supporting the campaign has also been signed by more than 50 MPs and has cross-party support. Campaigners want to see digital documents permitted where possible and are calling for the introduction of digital death certificates.