Grieving families have seen ups and downs in regards to funeral costs, administration fees and pay-outs when dealing with the aftermath of losing a loved one in recent years. The continuing rise in funeral costs, cuts in bereavement benefits, and the struggles over pensions. All of which can financially impact the overall cost of losing a loved one. But now families have just been hit again with the rise in the cost of obtaining death certificates.
The price of obtaining a death certificate in England and Wales just tripled over the weekend. For those registering the death of a loved one, a death certificate will now cost £11, which is a threefold increase from £4. The price of a death certificate that is ordered online in England and Wales also increased from £9.25 to the same higher cost of £11. And, if a family require a priority service to obtain death certificates quicker then this will now cost £35 instead of £23. This new pricing structure is in line with new legislation for obtaining certified copies of official legal documents when someone passes away. However, these further increases will make researching family history and documentation or tracing missing beneficiaries a much longer and expensive process.
The average funeral cost has been steadily increasing over the past few years, but this latest blow will make the overall cost of dying even more expensive if you consider that up to 20 copies of a death certificate are sometimes required to prove a death to a number of different authorities. Most commonly certificates are needed for banks, building societies, and life insurance and investment companies. Even, if a person had a relatively simple financial situation, 5 – 10 death certificates are typically required when they pass away.
This increase comes just a week after government MPs were accused of dodging the death tax by increasing probate charges. From the beginning of April this year, the families of those who have passed away may face fees of up to £6000 to legally secure their loved one’s estate. However, at this current time, it isn’t clear to whether these new probate fees will apply to those who pass away after the new rules come into effect. Or, whether it will apply to all probate applications made after the commencement date. These new fees are likely to anger many in England and Wales, as they may argue the fact that they had no influence over the wealth and size of their loved one’s estate.
The Process of Registering A Death Remains the Same
When a family member or close friend go to register the death of a loved one, they will be interviewed by the registrar who will use their information to update the official records and generate the required legal documentation.
The meeting usually takes about 30 minutes and is a good opportunity to request information about bereavement services in their local community, as well receiving the death certificate and other documents that are required in order to start arranging a funeral for their loved one.
The interview consists of a set of questions and answers, which are then entered into an online database and a draft entry is printed out to check. Once the family member are happy that everything is accurate and correct, they will be asked to sign the entry with a special pen that is provided by the registrar.
The new death certificate charges came into effect on Saturday 16thFebruary 2019.