Grieving families offered new secure, online system to notify a death to multiple companies, in one go.
As deaths from COVID-19 continue to soar, a new service is launched today 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.
Settld co-founder Julie Wilson, from Seaham, County Durham, started the business with her daughter after facing similar stress due to a family bereavement. She said: “More than 110,000 people across the UK have died over the last year from COVID-19 alone. More than 600,00 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 webform 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 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 is founded by a mother and daughter team. Julie and Vicky Wilson started the business after the personal experience of losing Vicky’s gran. The pair are determined to remove for others the stress associated with having to close multiple accounts of someone who has died.
Steven Wibberly, CEO of Cruse Bereavement Care, said: “The death of a loved one is one of the most devastating things any of us will ever face. In the aftermath, people should be able to spend time with their families to grieve, rather than wasting hours struggling their way through unhelpful and bureaucratic procedures from banks and utilities. We welcome any new service which will help bereaved families with this end of life admin.”
Bianca Neumann, Head of Bereavement at Sue Ryder, said: “From our experience of providing specialist end of life care and bereavement support, we know that families can often find the administration which follows someone’s death to be painful, stressful and difficult to navigate. Those closest to the person who died often have to spend countless hours speaking to multiple service providers to close accounts and sort through paperwork.
“We warmly welcome Settld’s new online service, which we hope will relieve some of the administrative pressures following a bereavement to allow people to close the accounts of the person who has died by filling out just one form. This means that the people who are grieving can spend more time supporting each other, rather than spending valuable time, as well as mental, physical and emotional energy, on the phone to numerous companies.”
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.
“We’ve also found, as we tested the service, that we’ve been able to save some people hundreds of pounds by closing monthly subscription services early, rather than have the payments roll on 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.
Notes to Editors
During a Commons Adjournment Debate on the Bereavement Standard (February 3rd, 2021), Labour’s Grahame Morris told MPs: “The Tell Us Once service is working well, ensuring that bereaved people do not have to go through the trauma of telling every single Government Department that they have lost a loved one, but we need exactly the same in the private sector to cover banks, utilities, insurance companies and more.
“Research from Settld and Cruse Bereavement Care shows that the vast majority of bereaved people described the administration processes as time-consuming and stressful. A quarter found it traumatic, especially having to phone so many individual companies and repeat time and again, ‘My husband/wife/father/mother has died’.”
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