Northern Ireland At Risk Of Leaving A Legacy Of Paperwork Chaos

  • New research shows that people in Northern Ireland are more aware of their own mortality as a result of Covid-19, yet risk leaving a legacy of a paperwork chaos 
  • Over half (58%) of people in Northern Ireland are more aware of their own mortality as a result of Covid-19 and over two thirds (38%) feel that their attitude towards keeping paperwork in order and ensuring important documents are accessible has changed as a result of the recent world crises. Yet half (49%) have never discussed their paperwork and administrative affairs with their next of kin so they know where everything is in the event of their death. 
  • Less than a quarter (22%) of people in Northern Ireland are very confident their paperwork is in sufficient order to enable their loved ones to manage their affairs in the event of their death. And almost two thirds (60%) say they are not confident they could produce the paperwork required when registering the death of a loved one.

New research by OnePoll, commissioned by paperwork and life management app, fyio, reveals that people are far more aware of their own mortality as a result of the pandemic yet are at risk of leaving a legacy of paperwork chaos when they die.

Hospice UK’s Dying Matters Awareness Week, taking place 2 – 6 May 2022, encourages people to talk about dying but OnePoll’s research shows people in Northern Ireland are reluctant to discuss their administrative affairs in the event of their death.

And less than a quarter (22%) are very confident their paperwork is sufficiently ordered to enable loved ones to manage their affairs after they die. Over a third (36%) of people in Northern Ireland have no backup copies of the documents they would want their loved ones to have access to.

According to Louise Marsh, who worked as a life insurance consultant before founding fyio:

“The pandemic has changed our lives in many ways, including our attitude towards paperwork but most of us are not as organised as we could be, and this really matters when someone dies. Death is a certainty but the uncertainty is when it will happen, and the impact on loved ones can be huge if you haven’t sufficiently prepared for it. And yet too many of us appear to be delaying or shying away from dealing with something that is a fact of life for us all.”

“The last thing any of us wants is to add to our loved ones’ grief by leaving behind a tangle of impenetrable paperwork, lost passwords, and confusion on what to do with social media and online accounts.”

The new research also shows that only 15% of people in Northern Ireland know that they have only five days in which to register a death. Most think that they have up to 10 days (29%) or 21 days (27%). Around two thirds (60%) would not be able to produce all the deceased’s documents the Register Office might require when registering a death, making them by far the last confident compared to the rest of the UK, where the national average is 35%.

According to Marsh: “It has never mattered more that our paperwork is in order, and our key documents shared with the people who matter to us. A legacy of paperwork chaos can cause a very particular kind of emotional and financial pain. Equally, taking the time to take control of your paperwork as part of everyday life can deliver real rewards right now.”

“I founded fyio when my husband left the Army  and said that if I died, he would have no idea what to do or where to find important documents and that he needed something that was really, really easy to use. Determined to find a solution, I took an SAS approach to the app focusing on simplicity, accessibility, and security. I knew if I could use it, then anyone could.”

According to chartered psychologist, Honey Lancaster-James: “The uncertainty of the pandemic has made people want to get their affairs in order, but the build up or ‘pre-filing anxiety’ acts as a blocker which, more often than not, is completely unnecessary. There are surprising therapeutic benefits that come with sorting and filing, far bigger than the obvious practical ones. It helps us feel psychologically and emotionally prepared for whatever life may throw at us.”

The digitalisation of modern life has helped us turn a corner. Our paperwork reflects our life and is what connects us with the people we love. Where we may have had suspicions before, Covid has shown us that digital is the way forward.”