I had a sad and interesting chat with a friend yesterday whose mother-in-law had recently passed away at 91 years old. She had lived a long and healthy life until the last six months, which were a tough and painful battle following a severe stroke. In any case, her husband had died fifteen years earlier, and at that time the family had purchased a side-by-side plot at the cemetery. They had done all the necessary planning, thinking that would make a hard experience easier when the time came.
Everything went smoothly with the funeral planning until the last moment when the family went to the cemetary to arrange for the preparation of the plot. The administrator told them that there was no record of the plot being purchased fifteen years earlier, and in fact the plot had been sold and someone else was buried there!
After several heated discussions, and some pulling of records from dusty boxes in the back, the cemetery actually discovered that there had been a transposition of one letter in their last name when the purchase agreement was entered into their database. So, by luck alone, the plot actually hadn’t been sold, and a stranger wasn’t actually buried next to their father. Needless to say, it was a pretty traumatic experience for them during an emotionally fraught time – all caused by a records management mistake.
Records management isn’t just a big company problem – it has the ability to affect each of our lives in negative and positive ways.