Life Ledger has created a service that makes the process of sending death notifications quicker, easier and a whole lot less stressful. But death notifications are something that many of us, particularly if we have never had to deal with death management, haven’t even heard of.
So, what are death notifications – what is the role of death notifications, and why is it so important to send death notifications?
What are death notifications?
Death notifications are a message (typically a letter or email) that is sent after a person dies, to any company that has been providing the individual with its services.
The notification informs the company that the individual has died, and that they are aware that the individual is no longer a customer.
In short, a death notification does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin – it notifies a company of a death.
What is the purpose of death notifications?
Death notifications are a formal notice of a death, which are sent to ensure that a company’s records relating to the customer are up to date.
Once they have received a death notification, the company will then take the required steps to freeze, transfer or close an account. This could include removing the deceased from their mailing list, cancelling a monthly subscription or membership, removing their bank details, or cancelling a direct debit. It will all depend on the nature of the services provided by the company to the deceased.
Without sending death notifications, all sorts of issues could crop up later down the line. For instance, the deceased’s payment method may continue to be billed, they may still receive mail to their home address, or if the company has continued to provide the service (as they were not aware that it was no longer needed) without receiving payment, debt collectors might be instructed.
Who needs to receive a death notification?
Death notifications should be sent to all of the businesses, companies and organisations that were providing services to the deceased.
This could include things like:
- Credit card providers
- Gas companies
- Electric companies
- Water companies
- Car or home insurance
- Council tax
- Road tax
- Building societies
- Mobile phone
- The DVLA
- Vehicle registration
- Season tickets
- Stocks or company shares
- Private healthcare
- Mortgage provider
- Magazine or newspapers
- Charitable donations or standing orders
- Membership organisations
- Passport Office
- Local Authorities
- Subscription Services (which could include anything from Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, Apple TV to dental plans, pet insurance or gallery membership)
Note that these notifications are particularly important for banks, as the bank can only close an account and release the funds to the executor of the will (to then be distributed according to the will) once they have been notified that the account holder has deceased.
How soon after a death do I need to send out death notifications?
We would advise that you send death notifications as soon as practical.
Start by prioritising the list of companies, with the banks and utility providers as the first to be informed, before moving on to the less urgent notifications.
There are still a few financial service companies and products that continue to charge after a death so getting the ball rolling with these sooner rather than later is best.
How do I send a death notification?
Today death notifications are most commonly sent via a company website or as an email, but they can also be sent as a letter. Always send death notifications in a written form, so that you have a record of them being sent.
To complete a death notification, you need to understand what information each company requires.
Typically this will include the deceased’s full name, usual home address, DOB, DOD, customer or account information, and proof of death such as a copy of the death certificate. But this varies between different sectors and different companies, there isn’t a standard.
Plus, different companies have their own unique death notification processes to uncover and understand. Be aware this can be really time-consuming and get very repetitive.
There is help in the public sector with the government’s fantastic Tell Us Once service, which your local registrar should point your towards, and websites like Money Helper and Citizens Advice offering help. But the commercial sector hasn’t had anything similar until now.
Of course, you could use us.
People’s first experience of managing a death is, unfortunately, a steep and rapid learning curve. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, you will probably be feeling overwhelmed with the administration you have to manage.
That’s exactly why we created Life Ledger.
Using Life Ledger you can send notifications to all of the companies connected with the deceased, simply and easily from one place for free.