Sunday, May 22

A change in Altinn will probably not solve the challenges the bereaved face

  • Kirsten Sandberg Natvig

    Enke

Kirsten Sandberg Natvig’s article on how she was treated by society at large after her husband’s death has engaged many. Here she lists three points she believes must be in place for lasting change.

A change in Altinn will probably not solve the challenges the bereaved face. The shoe presses in completely different places.

Debate
This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.

“Follow-up to this weekend’s most read case in Aftenposten”, editor Trine Eilertsen wrote on Facebook and attached an online case with a picture of me, where a planned expansion of Altinn was presented.

It is nice that through my article on how you as a survivor are treated by society at large, I have contributed to giving Aftenposten a liking click. But a change in Altinn will probably not solve the challenges the bereaved face. The shoe presses in completely different places.

Banks’ duty of confidentiality

The banks push the duty of confidentiality laid down in the Financial Undertakings Act §16-2 in front of them to justify that they cancel all payment obligations a dead person has entered into. I do not know what the legislators thought when they passed this section, but it is not obvious that the refusal of access should apply to the administrator of the estate, who will often be an heir as a spouse, children or siblings.

The heirs are (most often) responsible for the debts of the deceased. It is strange that the banks choose to interpret the duty of confidentiality to the effect that heirs will be denied access to which payment obligations they are responsible for paying.

The Tax Administration’s computer program issues reminder letters without noticing that the addressee has been nicknamed “estate”.

Compassion

The other elephant in the room is the way institutions allow machines to communicate with the population. The Tax Administration’s computer program issues reminder letters without noticing that the addressee has been nicknamed “estate”.

Thus, threats are sent out to dead people about forced recovery if they do not immediately pay advance tax on money they are to earn next quarter. There is a great need for both a change in language attire.

One must go from threats to polite, respectful communication and logic so that computers can recognize when communicating with dead people.

Following my article, a son told of his mother, who was so hurt that the system treated her as a criminal after she became a widow, that she just wanted to die. That’s not how most of us want it!

Digitization can be good, but not when we allow it to remove humanity.

family

The third elephant in the room is that many of us (actually) organize ourselves into families, while agreements are created in the name of only one of the family members. This means that we share services such as electricity, internet, newspaper subscriptions, support for charities, cloud services for family photos and more.

A widow told in the wake of my article that Telenor had deleted the couple’s joint e-mail address that they had had for 30 years, when her husband died. Because he happened to be the one who created the email address.

Thus, she lost her entire archive of emails and all the addresses of her entire network over 30 years. How heartbreaking is it not?

I myself have lost the entire music library from almost two decades because it was in my husband’s name, and Apple Norway refuses me to inherit.

I would like to thank the Minister of Local Government for his involvement in the matter. More coordination is most welcome.

But, unless society at large grasps the three points above, I’m afraid increased coordination will be nothing more than a thin patch on the wound.


Reference-www.aftenposten.no

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