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What is a deceased estate?

It’s never easy to deal with the passing of a close friend or family member, and managing a deceased estate is a reality that many of us may face at some point in our lives. Having some familiarity with the process before the time comes may hopefully relieve the burden.

When someone dies, their assets and liabilities are called the estate. Their assets are their property and belongings that have value, such as a house, car, shares and investments.

Most of the time, the deceased person has left instructions on what needs to happen with the estate in their will. The people who inherit the deceased person’s estate are called the beneficiaries.

A deceased estate includes all the assets and liabilities, or debts, that the person had when they died.

Assets can include:

  • bank accounts
  • shares
  • superannuation and life insurance policies
  • real estate – such as a nursing home bond or retirement village lease
  • personal belongings, such as furniture and jewellery.
  • Liabilities can include mortgages, credit cards and personal loans. Usually liabilities are paid out of the estate assets before they are distributed to beneficiaries.

Read more about being a beneficiary.

Who manages the deceased estate?

A legal personal representative (referred to as an executor or administrator) is responsible for administering an estate. The executor will be named in the person’s will, if they have one.

The legal personal representative makes sure the deceased person’s final wishes are carried out.

Just some of their responsibilities include:

  • Arranging the funeral
  • Obtaining a death certificate
  • Applying for probate or letters of administration
  • Paying debts and income tax in accordance with the state or territory
  • Informing the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and other government bodies

Read more about what an executor does.

Getting help

If you have any questions about deceased estates or what legal personal representatives do, we can help.

We have decades of experience in estate administration and can provide expert and unbiased advice.

Call us now for an obligation-free discussion on 1300 138 672.

You can also fill out the form below and one of our team members will contact you.

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