Prentice wants improvements in support offered to the bereaved
9th February 2009: The Government has doubled the financial support for those whose spouses or civil partners have died without leaving a Will.
Previously a spouse or civil partner with children automatically got £125,000 from the estate of someone who died without leaving a will. Where someone left not only a spouse or civil partner but also parents or siblings, but no children, they got £200,000.
From 1st February 2009 the amounts have been increased to £250,000 and £450,000 respectively.
The above changes were announced by Justice Minister Bridget Prentice while presenting the Coroners and Justice Bill.
"The death of a loved one is an extremely distressing time, and sees people at their most vulnerable. I want to see real improvement in the support and services offered to the recently bereaved, and this will result in the biggest shake-up of the coronial system in 100 years.
"The Coroners and Justice Bill, currently going through Parliament, sets out my plans for the first-ever ‘Charter for the Bereaved’”, Ms. Prentice said.
Families will get a right to complain or appeal to a new Chief Coroner on a range of issues, including if they think there should be a post-mortem examination or if they are unhappy with the verdict of the inquest.
"The Charter will also make sure that families are kept informed, answer any questions they may have about coronial procedures and take account of individual wishes, where possible, including personal preferences and religious requirements,” Ms. Prentice said.
She also encouraged all to make a will.