A Bachelors Degree in Stupidity

23 October 2016

Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss Bereavement Services Bank Employee,

I am writing today to make a few small requests of you. Each and every day of the week, I have the pleasure of engaging with you, either in the written or spoken form. Just because I am doing so, does not mean that I am bereaved myself so please, don’t feel that you need to pass on your condolences to me or say that you are “sorry to hear of [my] loss“. If I happen to choose the option which states that this is the first time I am informing you of the customer’s passing, I would ideally like to be informed succinctly of the process which I should follow in order to close the customer’s accounts and transfer funds to the administrators. It is surprising that this is not possible …. ever…. [If I was grieving for the loss of a family member, this would not help matters, I can assure you….]

Having provided you with all of the requested documents – client contract, identification and such like – I forward the closure form to our beneficiary for signature. The form is duly returned to your offices and you write back to us asking for an original death certificate?? Erm, you have one…. because (a) you referred the estate to the Government Legal Department in the first place and they would have required one and (b) I have a copy of the certificate you provided. Please explain to me why I have to spend over an hour on the telephone with three members of your team explaining the difference between an original, a certified copy provided by the Registrar, a certified copy provided by a solicitor and a photocopy.

Oh and your solution really does highlight your total lack of understanding of the process: “We will ask the Treasury Solicitor to confirm that the customer is dead“. Erm, you referred the case to them, you noodle!!! I suppose I should be grateful that you have come up with a workaround!?

I guess that your service isn’t quite as bad as that of another bank so perhaps you shouldn’t jump ship too soon. “You’ll need to obtain a Grant of Probate in this matter”. That’s fine but you haven’t actually given me any information about the account to complete the IHT205 and PA1 forms….. might be helpful? The estate is very low in value you tell me so, I question why this is necessary: “We have been informed that there is a family dispute“. Oh really? Have you identified the person who informed you of this as a true relative of the deceased? “Erm, no!”

Words fail me and really, this process should be straight-forward. People who are bereaved do not need to jump through hoops and have the goalposts moved every five minutes. Please – let’s get this sorted out once and for all.

Yours, Frustrated of Calne.

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