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death_estatemx

on the death of your loved one - estate issues and more

Introduction

  • the death of a loved one, no matter how expected it may be is always traumatic, highly emotional times and a prolonged period of grief and the grieving process should be expected and support should be sought from grief counseling services, GP, friends or relatives as you feel necessary
  • hopefully your loved one has made it easier to manage by addressing the issues outlined in preparing for the worst - making life easier for your loved ones if you become critically ill or die
  • if you are the Executor of their Will, then you will have a range of responsibilities to also manage.

Potential unexpected issues

  • any Power of Attorney or similar will cease
    • any legal guardianship, Power of Attorney or similar legal constructs will cease to have any role once a person is pronounced dead.
  • the deceased's bank accounts will be frozen
    • although monies can be deposited into them, and the bank can issue money to re-imburse funeral expenses - although they will usually only re-imburse the 50% deposit of the funeral expenses - you may need to pay the residual and re-claim later from the Probate - funeral expenses tend to be around $15,000 for relatively basic funerals
    • joint bank accounts will be exempt as these will become the property of the other party in the same manner that any property assets owned by joint tenants will be transferred via 'passing by survivorship'
  • there may be delay in the release of the deceased's body for funerals
    • this is likely to be the case if it has been referred to the Coroner as this process often takes 1-2 weeks before they release the body and issue an Interim Death Certificate
  • there may be delay in commencing Probate
    • Probate process cannot be commenced until a final Death Certificate is issued for the Births, Deaths, and Marriages registry - the Interim Death Certificate from the Coroner will not suffice for this.
  • verification of Will being the latest valid Will
  • persons or other parties contesting a will or estate assets
    • the Executor can reduce their own personal fiscal risk by ensuring the Probate is advertised to allow all such issues to be addressed within a 6 month Probate window.

Responsibilities of the Executor(s) of the Will

  • notify friends and family - helps if they had a wish list of who to contact and contact details
  • arrange the funeral
    • decide upon a funeral director service and arrange an appointment booking to discuss options and costs
    • ascertain where they will be buried and contact cemetery to ensure the grave is actually reserved if there is one reserved and determine cemetery availability times for funeral then liaise with funeral directors
    • someone will generally need to pay a 50% deposit although the deceased bank may pay this
    • someone will need to pay the residual 50% after the funeral and claim it back on the probate when it is settled (keep all invoices, evidence of payment, etc)
    • may need to pay for extra cemetery costs such as a new plaque for the gravesite
    • if possible download all bank account statements for the past few years in case these are needed for tax returns or to ascertain the presence of possible investments that are not documented.
    • notify the banks that the person is deceased and they will freeze their accounts from any withdrawals (and generally any online access), the banks will generally need:
      • certified copy of death certificate, and,
      • certified copy of the will
  • terminate any ongoing services (eg. phone, NBN, newspaper delivery, Centrelink, DVA, council services, home care packages, etc)
  • notify any who they may have appointments with such as medical specialists, dentists, allied health professionals, etc.
  • collect all the assets and have them valued, if needed
    • consider photographing the physical assets early
    • you may distribute these physical assets to family according to the Will or other expressed wishes that have been documented by the deceased as long as this process is documented
    • if a property needs to be vacated, consider paying an auctioneer to take all residual assets away - they will auction what they consider to be worthy of auction and send the rest to the rubbish tip - you will likely need to pay up front for their costs - perhaps around $2000 and you may receive a small amount of the proceeds of sales
  • find out what debts are owed and pay them from the money made by selling the assets or from your own money (ensuring they keep documentation of this and any invoices/receipts)
  • claim any funeral bond or insurance
  • once the formal Death Certificate is available, they can go to a solicitor to apply for a Grant of Probate
    • 2wk advertising period to allow alternate wills to contest
  • once the Grant of Probate is approved:
    • you will receive a Probate Authority Certificate which allows one to authorise estate transactions
    • advertise the Grant of Probate
    • claim any life insurance
    • liquidate any assets - any monies will go into a solicitor's Trust Fund
    • arrange tax returns including the estate tax return
      • notify the ATO of the deceased person via:
      • notify the ATO to authorize a tax agent to complete tax returns
      • provide tax agent with a Letter of Authority to Lodge Tax Returns
      • you will need the tax statements from all investments that have been liquidated and any interest statements from bank accounts as well as capital gains tax details for any shares or property sold
    • distribute the estate according to Will
      • you will need to gain the bank account details and contact details of all beneficiaries
      • the solicitor will then distribute the monies from their Trust Fund
    • take or defend legal action on behalf of the estate.
death_estatemx.txt · Last modified: 2020/04/04 15:52 by gary1