Notification service that eases the burden when someone dies

When someone has died, notifying multiple financial institutions can be stressful and repetitive, at an already difficult time. A free service wants to make things easier. Stuart Simpson explains.  

Young woman at laptopIn June 2018, the Death Notification Service (DNS) launched to provide the recently bereaved with a service that notifies private sector businesses of a death.

How does the DNS work?

The DNS is a collaboration between a number of banks and building societies, which allows the reporting of a death to several major financial service providers via one simple notification service. It’s a free service and is available to anyone who wishes to notify member organisations that a customer has died.

Since the launch, awareness and support for the service has grown, with help from registrars and charities who see DNS sitting alongside the Department for Work & Pensions' Tell Us Once service, which informs several government organisations simultaneously.

Which institutions are included?

The institutions that can currently be notified using the DNS are:

  • Bank of Scotland
  • Barclaycard
  • Barclays
  • Cahoot
  • Clerical Medical
  • First Direct
  • Halifax
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds Bank
  • M&S Bank
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Natwest
  • Santander
  • Scottish Widows
  • The Mortgage Works
  • UCB Home Loans Ltd

Why was the service created?

Bereavement is a difficult and emotional time, and this service is designed to relieve the stress and burden that can come with having to contact multiple organisations.

From a single interaction, multiple financial institutions can be contacted, reducing the number of calls and contacts that would otherwise be necessary. 

How the institutions are notified (and what happens next)

Once the online form is completed, the notification is sent to the selected financial institutions, who will then contact the notifier or executor/administrator to inform them of next steps.

The banks involved will provide insight into what information is needed to close the account, after which they will transfer the funds. There are also customer services agents available for help in completing a notification.

Expansion of the service

The intention is for the DNS to be extended across the wider financial services market and customer-focused industries, such as utilities and insurance, as the service is rolled out more widely.

About the author

Stuart Simpson is managing director of Equiniti Benefactor, the end-of-life services brand.  

Equiniti Benefactor receives approximately 1,000 notifications of death on an average day, which equates to around 50 per cent of the total number of deaths in the UK each year. They manage around 600 estates annually, distributing over £335 million of assets and supporting over 1,200 beneficiaries.

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