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Managing the deceased estate of a loved one

Managing the deceased estate of a loved one

When someone close to you passes away, it is a difficult time. If they named you in their Will as the executor of their estate, you may also have the added stress of managing a complex list of tasks. With so much to do, it's hard to know where to start.

You will need to comply with the laws governing estate management and may choose to seek the help of others or, if the estate is a complex one, a legal professional to assist you.

First steps

You may be responsible for organising the funeral service according to the Will and reaching out to friends and family to let them know their loved one has passed away.

Several organisations will also need to be informed, these should include your loved one's bank, relevant government departments (Human Services, Taxation Office), insurance, superannuation and utility companies.

You will need the official Death Certificate and original Will and may have to apply for a grant of probate from the Supreme Court, a document that grants you power to administer the estate as executor.

If your loved one is a P&N member, our deceased estates checklist and FAQs provide more information on how we can help you finalise their banking arrangements.

Identify the estate assets

One of the challenging tasks for an executor is determining the estate's assets and debts. You will need to make a list of everything the deceased owned or was entitled to. This could include bank accounts, real estate, items such as vehicles, personal effects, shares, investments, superannuation and more.

Pay any debts

Once you have determined the estate's assets, it is time to pay any outstanding debts. This could include funeral and administration expenses, outstanding bills, loan repayments, relevant taxes (including income tax) and more.

It is a good idea to open a bank account in the name of the estate to easily keep track of assets sold and debts paid.

You will need to contact a number of organisations to request information on debts to be settled. You may also be required to publish a notice asking people with a claim against the estate to come forward.

Distribute the remaining assets

After all debts have been paid, the remaining assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the Will.

Reach out for support if you need it

Managing the estate of a loved one can be a stressful experience. There are a number of people and organisations that can help you while you are going through this difficult time. Don't be shy of reaching out for support while you are grieving.

If you are finalising the banking arrangements for a deceased P&N Bank member, we are here to help you make the process simple and straight forward. Please call us to see how we can help.

Find out more in How to manage a deceased estate.


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