NatWest is announcing today the release of a free new digital service, ‘NatWest Plan Ahead’, and will be the first bank in the UK to offer this tool which aims to simplify and consolidate end of life planning for customers.
The new tool, available to customers in England and Wales, will offer an online portal asking customers a series of questions about the arrangements in place for the end of their lives in order to help them think about certain issues, plans and needs. The topics include funeral preferences and financial planning, from creating a will to recording assets – and will be guided through the process with personalised support from the bank. Customers’ answers are used to populate an online profile in a secure system, to which they can add notes to family members or friends.
The site is secured by bank-grade encryption and the customer can choose to share their plan with a trusted loved one, who can then download a copy of the plan for their own records. There is no cost to the new service.
Wendy Renshaw, Chief Digital Information Officer at NatWest said: “Planning for the future can sometimes be an overwhelming, daunting task and often one we’d rather not think about. At NatWest we want our customers to think of planning ahead as a positive act. This new service will help enhance people’s financial confidence and capability, as well as giving peace of mind for the future. Through innovative digital technology, it can reduce the risk of unexpected costs or administrative difficulties for friends or loved ones at a difficult time.”
This kind of focus about the end of life is one that many people want but few people get. Research conducted by NatWest found that 85% of customers felt it was important to plan for the future, but only 40% have a will in place and 33% have life insurance. Often this is because people don’t consider it to be the right time or they simply haven’t got round to it yet.
Choosing end-of-life preferences ahead of time can help prevent financial losses, funeral costs and conflict between loved ones.
The new tool is now available to access HERE.