The Bereavement Standard Petition has now over 75,000 supporters calling on the government to act quickly and back proposals for a new account closure standard, bringing to a halt to unnecessary stress for grieving families.
The petition, at change.org/bereavementstandard, was launched by mother and daughter, Julie and Vicky Wilson, from Easington, County Durham, who have founded Settld, a new online app which is designed to speed up the account closure process.
Julie Wilson, a registered Funeral Celebrant, said:
“The response to our petition so far has been staggering. It shows that bereaved families across the UK have had enough of being poorly treated when they have just lost loved ones. We are well on our way to getting 100,000 signatures and that shows the government that there is a groundswell of opinion for a change for the better for families dealing with grief.”
The Bereavement Standard would set a time limit for account closures, standardise paperwork and documents required, and ensure service providers have dedicated bereavement channels with properly trained staff, available to customers.
The campaign for a new Bereavement Standard is backed by several charities including Cruse Bereavement Care, Sue Ryder and the Good Grief Trust as well as the online will-writing and probate service Farewill. A ‘Bereavement Standard Working Group’ to help bring about the requested standard has also been established with leading service providers, parliamentarians, charities and UK regulators involved.
Across the UK, more than 600,000 people die every year. Currently, there is no approved process for closing accounts when someone dies – some companies demand a death certificate before closing an account, others seek different proof and paperwork. It can take weeks, or months, of repeated calls, to close just one account. On average individuals have up to 20 utility, mobile, broadband, TV subscription, and other household service accounts which need to be closed.
Vicky Wilson, co-founder of Settld, added:
“We are encouraged that there is growing support from the public for a new set of agreed standards, and we call on all service providers across the UK to listen to those voices and back our campaign. Bereaved families have enough to deal with without this unacceptable and unnecessary added stress.”
Steven Wibberly, CEO of Cruse Bereavement Care, said:
“It is vital that companies are compassionate and simplify their processes to ensure they are fit for purpose and to make sure that they are not causing their bereaved customers further distress, at an already very difficult time. Anything that can be done to simplify this process for bereaved people will have a huge impact.”
Is a process like this something that will prevent the banks from closing deceased client’s account(s) and giving the monies to someone who may not be entitled?