Opinion and insight from our Private Client team.
Bereavement - the impact of Covid-19 on families, loved ones and the administration process
- AuthorEsther Woodhouse
The effects of Covid-19 and the lockdown across the world is certainly not something that any of us could have ever envisaged or expected to happen during our lifetime. The effects are devastating and widespread, impacting the whole world beyond comprehension.
The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (‘ONS’) reports 16,387 deaths in England and Wales to the week ending 3 April 2020, the highest weekly total since 2000. 166,436 deaths have occurred year to date. 3,475 of those deaths are reported to be directly related to Covid-19. The news headlines today confirm that the actual death toll arising from the virus is now over 13,000 and sadly this is likely to continue to rise.
The virus continues to cause significant problems to those with underlying conditions such as heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s and chronic respiratory diseases. The ONS reports that over 91% of people who died within the last month arising from the virus, had underlying health conditions. Save to say, a lot of our private clients and everyone else with such conditions are extremely vulnerable at this time and no doubt concerned about how their affairs will be managed in the future, in the event they become unwell.
In May 2019 I wrote a blog about the effects of coping with bereavement and how the death of a loved one affects us all in different ways. It is evident the pandemic has absolutely no regard for the devastation being caused and as a result of the necessary lockdown this not only affects everyone’s normal day to day lives, but significantly affects those most vulnerable where family and friends are now restricted access.
Within the last few weeks, we have started to see first-hand the effects of the pandemic on family deaths. If restricted access to poorly family members at such a sensitive time is not bad enough (the BBC have reported on this recently with regards to care home visits ), restricted funeral arrangements make matters worse leaving families feeling they are unable to celebrate the life as they would have wished and in accordance with the deceased’s specific instructions.
We are seeing delays in the administration process arising from the volume of registrations to obtain a death certificate; including limited staff at relevant organisations to release assets. The halt of the housing market is also having a significant impact as estates largely rely on the sale of a property to realise sufficient cash assets to administer the estate for distribution. We are trying to do all we can to minimise any disruption, so far as possible.
The importance of putting your affairs in order has never been as important as it is right now. If you are concerned about your affairs, your family or your estate generally and need advice then please do get in touch. We are here to help so please do contact the office.