Bereavement, the experience of losing a loved one, can have a significant impact on individuals of all generations, including Millennials and Gen Z. As Exizent’s 2023 Bereavement Index report revealed, 78% of people responsible for estate administration (executry in Scotland) are aged 18 to 44.
The impact of bereavement is shaped by various factors including emotional and psychological, unexpected costs, repetitive information and data requests, slow processes, lack of digitisation and non-existent or contentious wills.
Legal professionals advocating for grieving clients help them substantially but from the research, it’s clear that there is much work still to be done across the entire bereavement industry to improve the experience of dealing with death.
Read our full blog on the Exizent website here.
The true impact of bereavement on mental health
Younger generations continue to bear a significant mental health burden while administering an estate, as our research reveals that 66% of individuals aged 18 to 44 reported adverse impacts on their mental well-being.
Our research identified two critical aspects. Firstly, the current estate administration processes, requirements and support models in the UK are unnecessarily problematic for the modern family and financial landscapes – which are more complex and fragmented than in previous generations. The systematic inadequacy results in stress for both the bereaved and those, including legal professionals, assisting them.
Secondly, in times of particular financial stress, the UK’s post death administration demands and delays are causing more people to face even greater financial difficulties.
The timing issues
In 2023, 62% of individuals found the probate process took longer than expected – making it harder for individuals to focus on their family and grieving. This expectation gap can easily add to the financial pressures if costs have been incurred for example for a funeral, bills on the deceased’s home, or in financially supporting a loved one whilst waiting for estate administration to progress or complete.
The effects of financial hurdles on younger generations
The loss of a family member or caregiver is not only upsetting, stressful, and time-consuming, but it can also have financial consequences. The research showed that the cost associated with the bereavement process has the most significant financial impact on Millennials and Gen Z. In 2023, over 80% of individuals in the age group of 18 – 44 reported facing financial difficulties as a result of dealing with a death. This marks a substantial climb from the preceding two years: 52% in 2022 and 36% in 2021.
The steep upward trend could be due to the fact that the younger generation is at the front end of rent and mortgage rises, with less spare cash because of inflationary pressures to pay out for a funeral and other expenses in situations where the deceased left no readily available assets to pay for these items.
Individuals dealing with a death typically don’t have lots of experience of doing so and are emotionally vulnerable. They may not understand the estate administration process, who can pay what, nor be in the right frame of mind to calmly plan financial matters.
By the time an individual engages with financial institutions or legal professionals on an estate administration matter they may already be experiencing financial challenges impacting their mental wellbeing.
A solution – legal professionals
Without a doubt, consumers acknowledge the benefits of seeking assistance from solicitors and other professionals to help them through estate administration, as confirmed by our research this year.
In our findings, we discovered that amongst those who used professionals during the bereavement process, 72% used a solicitor, and an overwhelming 92% of consumers would make the same decision again.
Legal professionals think things can get better
Legal professionals surveyed identified problems in the process and a number of ways that it could get better to the benefit of their businesses and clients.
Down from previous years, 76% think the process is slow and complicated. This view was driven by five key reasons including reliance on third parties for information, lack of specialist tools and lack of resources.
Solutions identified were improving case efficiency, successfully adopting modern technology, enhancing data accuracy and standardising legal processes. Having the time to learn new processes, resistance to changing ways of working and budget were identified as the top three hurdles to making progress, however.
Looking to the future, investment in technology was reported as the number one priority by legal professionals for the third year in a row.
To see the full findings and solutions from our 2023 Bereavement Index research, click here to download for free.
How can Exizent help?
Using specialist software designed specifically for estate administration, such as Exizent, helps law firms with the adoption of digital processes and minimises the potential for errors. By providing access to easy-to-use modern technology, Exizent is aiming to help improve the bereavement experience for everyone involved. Our innovative approach involves connecting data, services and networks of individuals associated with the deceased, streamlining case handling, reducing costs, and bringing clarity to an otherwise uncertain situation.
To learn more about how Exizent’s probate /executry software can help support your firm and clients, book a no-obligation quick demo with one of our experienced team now.
Read our full blog on the Exizent website here.
This article was submitted to be published by Exizent as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.