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‘I know your partner is dead, but I still need to speak to him about the account.’

‘Closing a life’ it can be complicated and traumatic, so COTA Victoria has developed a series of resources to help people navigate the bureaucracy involved.

What practical things should you do when someone dies? Information for partners and families is a set of information sheets with a calendar to guide people on the various steps to take after a loved one dies.

In developing the resources with its key volunteers, COTA Victoria found the procedures in changing account documentation are often disparate across governments, banks and private business. The cost, confusion, customer service issues and time factor all contribute to a sense of powerlessness, anger and stress at a time when people are at their most vulnerable.

During the project, people commented:

  • ‘I get depressed every time someone sends me a letter, email or account in my late partner’s name, even though I have constantly contacted them and sent all the paperwork they wanted.’
  • ‘I am confused, as every time I contact a company, I receive a different answer.’
  • ‘The company thinks a small amount does not matter to me but I have been left with very little money or income and each small amount matters.’

COTA Victoria will distribute the resources widely to community organisations as well as through probate lawyers, funeral homes, hospital social workers, palliative care workers and others engaged in end of life work.

This resource will be launched on 16th May 2018 during Law Week.

For more information or to pre-order your FREE copy please call

Seniors Information Victoria
1300 13 50 90
(Open 9:30am to 1:00pm weekdays)

This news was categorised COTA Vic, News & Information and tagged with , , , , , , .

11 Responses to ‘I know your partner is dead, but I still need to speak to him about the account.’

  1. Marie Lockyer says:

    So pleased to see this information is available. Please forward a copy to Marie.

  2. Jan Healey says:

    I am part of a group of positive Ageing Ambassadors in Colac Otway Shire. I love the sound of your information on this issue and would like to get a copy of the booklet for each of us – nine of us. Or more and we can distribute to other local groups like U3A, Do Care, Probus etc.
    Jan Healey

  3. Michelle Bourke says:

    This comment has been hidden for privacy reasons.
    We will respond to the writer directly via email.
    COTA Victoria Team

  4. Judy Scott says:

    I think you answered my query yesterday re changing the house in to my name etc but I accidently deleted it. Could you resend it ?

  5. Bhaskaran R Krishnan says:

    I am suffering from serious health problems and worry how my wife who is 13 years younger will cope afterwards. She is educated but not competent in financial matters. I have provided written instructions about the steps she needs to take. However she may face problems with the agencies and institutions she will need to deal with and decisions she will need to make. It would greatly help if agencies like Centerlink could provide personalized advice on such matters.

  6. ~ C says:

    And COTA does not understand that without a price for the book few will be motivated to inquire

  7. Brenda Lacey says:

    Thank you for your interest in this publication and highlighting this omission. The publication is free – we will send an email to you requesting your preferred format (electronic or hard copy) and send it out as soon as it is available. We have also updated the page to include this information.

    Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 13 50 90.

    Brenda Lacey
    Information Officer

  8. Brenda Lacey says:

    Thanks for your interest in this publication. We have added your details to our list and will post a copy as soon as they are available.

    Brenda Lacey
    Information Officer

  9. Brenda Lacey says:

    Thanks for your interest in this publication. We have added your details to our list and will post and email copies as soon as they are available.

    Brenda Lacey
    Information Officer

  10. Thank you for your comment Michelle.
    COTA Team

  11. Hi Bhaskaran,

    The situation that you face is sadly very common and there is as yet no agency that provides personalised assistance to the person who has lost a spouse.
    It may be possible that a financial counsellor could assist your wife. Financial counsellors provide a free service for people who may be in debt or otherwise in financial difficulties. You can contact a financial counsellor on this number: 1800 007 007.
    For other matters, or to discuss further, please contact us on 1300 13 50 90.
    COTA Victoria has heard many similar concerns from older people across Victoria and we have responded in the following ways:
    – We have produced a booklet to assist people who have recently lost their partner. This booklet will be available in May this year. I would be happy to send you a copy if you are interested. . If you would like me to post a hard copy of the booklet to you, please provide your postal address. Alternatively, I could send you an electronic copy.
    – We are also working with government and other agencies to make post-death procedures simpler.
    – We have also signalled the need for an independent advocacy agency to help people in the circumstances you describe.

    I hope you find the above useful.

    Best regards,
    COTA Team