Dealing With Death: Sharing Your Experiences
COTA Victoria is aware that many people struggle with legal, financial and administrative requirements when their partner dies – a time when they are most vulnerable both emotionally and financially. There are equity issues too, people from non-English speaking backgrounds and those who have never dealt with finances or ‘officialdom’ are particularly disadvantaged.
The processes and documentation required by Government departments, local government, utility and telecommunications companies differ widely. The cost, confusion and time factor involved contributes to people’s sense of powerlessness, anger and stress at a very difficult time. As one person said, it had cost her nearly $2,000 to change accounts into her name; and because of the stress and contradictory instructions, she has taken over a year to complete the process.
COTA is fortunate that one of our volunteers, Anita Smith who is a qualified financial counsellor has written an innovative report. Anita identifies many areas that are sorely in need of regulation. The most significant of these relate to income reduction, transfer of accounts and death certificates.
COTA is in the process of bringing together a Round Table of stakeholders to discuss proposals for streamlining procedures at all levels of government and the private sector.
We are collecting case studies on the problems people have faced after a death, which will serve as the evidence base for our submission to government. If you or a friend have an experience that you would like to share, anonymously if you like, please contact Anita Smith on firstname.lastname@example.org or Arati Vidyasagar on (03) 9655 2154 or email@example.com