New Zealand Law Society - New death notification service

New death notification service

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Older woman on the phone

MyTrove is a free web service now available to solve some of the challenges to lawyers and individuals around estate management. The platform myTrove Notify allows users to notify multiple organisations when someone has died, after registering online and completing the details. Currently, notifications can be sent to IRD, Westpac and the Department of Internal Affairs (Passports).

In July 2016 the Public Trust commissioned Executor Research which found that on average it takes an executor 52.1 hours to fulfil duties such as closing down the accounts of a person who has died. Executors typically take between two months to a year to wind up an estate from start to finish. The people behind MyTrove say it can reduce the administrative burden encountered by grieving families, or lawyers, by reducing paperwork, removing the need to visit multiple organisations who require essentially the same information, and allowing personal and official death data to work together.

Ross Hughson is the Managing Director of Personal Information Management Ltd (PIM) and worked in conjunction with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to launch the project. The project began in 2017 when the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery, saw issues around the closing down of estates. DIA sponsored a team to take part in a three-month Government technology accelerator run by MBIE, with Ross and PIM part of the team. The team also worked with the Law Society and other stakeholder groups selected to assist the DIA in the, “Simplifying the Final Affair” project. The area selected to simplify first was to streamline the death notification process.

The service was launched in March 2018 and myTrove Notify currently processes 10-15% of deaths in New Zealand. Mr Hughson is aiming to have that figure increase to 40-50% within the next year, with a target of 100% over time. Because a death is confirmed against the Death Register at DIA before organisations are notified, it replaces the need for a Death Certificate.

Stella Purcell, Principal at Ruby Law, was recently prompted to register the notification of a deceased person online using the myTrove web service.

“A central registration is an efficient way of dealing with notifications of this nature, certainly saves individual letters being sent. I’m all for finding a more efficient way of doing anything administrative,” she says.

The web service has recently added a tab where you can elect to give feedback and suggestions, and PIM will soon be starting a focus group to get further ideas from lawyers to further develop the service. These may include ‘find my will’ and ‘find my insurance’ tabs, real-time confirmation of probate, or identity verification of the person notifying of the death.

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