How Technology Can Help Navigate the Complexities of an Unexpected Death
By Bernerdine Noronha, innovator of digital personal storage platform, myFRP (www.myfamilyrecoveryplan.com)
Facing the death of a loved one is never an easy experience, particularly if it is an unexpected one. Whilst we grieve, the last thing we want to think about is the admin, which is why it’s so important to plan ahead and ensure our affairs are in order so that when our time comes, we can relieve those around us of the administrative burden. Organisation of affairs is key when it comes to end-of-life planning and what many don’t realise is that technology can play a huge role in making the process far simpler and safer.
Without a proper organisation and storage system, the bereaved often find themselves faced with unnecessary and stressful obstacles including difficulties winding up estates, accessing inheritance and executing wills. In fact, in a recent survey with Censuswide, myFRP found that disorganisation has left much of the UK unprepared, with 1 in 4 Brits admitting that they lack the information they need to wind up their partner’s affairs if they died.
One of the most common issues that is often overlooked in end-of- life planning is the need for access to important personal details. Many often forget that in order to file for probate or letters of administration, loved ones will need access to bank account details, property details, pension plans, passwords and other necessary documentation, which is why it’s vital that you make gaining access as easy as possible.
Worryingly, the survey found that 27% of over 55’s write their pass- words down on a piece of paper. With this in mind, we need to raise awareness of how technology can offer a helping hand in not only keeping our information more secure, but also making it accessible to those around us when our time comes. Instead of opting for an unreliable paper solution that can easily be misplaced, damaged or even stolen,, we can now go paperless and employ online tools that help to collate and store private information safely.
For instance, personal storage platforms are a particularly beneficial tool in keeping personal data in one simple, manageable and secure place. The information uploaded cannot get lost or damaged and some of these platforms even allow users to nominate specific people to be granted access to various types of their private information in the event of a sudden tragedy.
These digital platforms can also store details of insurance plans, pensions and investments which are essential in protecting families of the deceased, ensuring that family finances are never jeopardized. Yet, at present, a mere 27% of the UK keeps track of their pension plans and investments. It’s quite common for information regarding pension providers and life insurance plans to get lost, particularly if the deceased has worked at multiple organisations or abroad during their career. Therefore, by keeping this information in one secure place and updating it regularly as you move on to your next role, you save the bereaved from facing any financial obstacles.
In addition, in the event of a sudden loss, those left behind will be required to settle any outstanding payments and also cancel ongoing utility payments – from mortgage payments, to phone bills and direct debits. The family or executors of the will often need to sift through mounds of paperwork and correspondence to find the appropriate providers and billing history. However, digital storage platforms can ensure that all these details of household affairs are noted down clearly so that those around you can notify providers and cancel these payments in an efficient and stress-free way.
Technology can ensure that we are prepared for whatever is around the corner. Online tools can be a great way to leave your family a message, record your wishes and advise on more personal requests, like funeral arrangements – who you’d like invited, the songs to play or how much to spend. It’s important to note that with a will, every time you make a change, there needs to be a witness; however, by recording your personal wishes digitally, you can constantly make adjustments and ensure that those around you are aware of your most up to date wishes when the time comes.
To conclude, by implementing innovative digital storage solutions, an unexpected death need not come with any additional stress and anxiety. By keeping a secure record of assets and efficiently filing personal and household affairs, technology is able to guarantee the deceased the opportunity to support and protect their loved ones in a time of need.