MANAGING DEATH: Launched today is a free online guide from COTA Victoria on how to close a person’s life.
MANAGING DEATH: Launched today is a free online guide from COTA Victoria on how to close a person’s life.

Making sense of post-death red tape nightmare

A PRACTICAL and free guide for partners and family on who you need to notify and what legal processes to follow after the death of a partner or loved one is available now.

The online booklet on how to close a person's life is published by Council on the Ageing Victoria (COTA). While the booklet has been developed for Victorian families, its tips can be applied to any other Australian state.

Chief executive officer Ronda Held said the basic principles outlined in the booklet apply anywhere. "It's the legal processes that are state specific," Ms Held said. "But, it can be adapted elsewhere. We will be recommending it other states to adapt this booklet for their state."

Ms Held said some people find death and all the legal requirements around it an extremely emotional experience. "Not just because they have lost a loved one, but they may have never had to contact service providers such as the bank, their private health insurer, Medicare, the car registration office or utilities providers.

"Suddenly everything is changed and they are left with that responsibility and no guide as to what to do and when - until now.

"COTA's work in this area has brought us into contact with many families who struggle with post-death red tape and are not sure of how to protect their rights. Such challenges were also highlighted in the recent banking Royal Commission revelations of banks charging dead account holders for financial planning services, in some cases for 10 years after their death."

COTA Victoria has worked with retired financial counsellor volunteers and service providers to develop the practical booklet.

It covers a raft key issues including the timeline of things to do after the death of a partner; what to do immediately and in the first few days after the death; funeral, burial or cremation choices; settling your partner's estate; finances after the death of a partner; providing notification of a death and getting help; accessing and closing online accounts; looking after yourself after a death; and provides a sample letter for notification of death.

To access the Death of a Partner: a guide for families booklet, go to w: cotavic.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Death-of-a-Partner-V3pdf.pdf.


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