At ORG Solicitors, we understand how overwhelming losing a loved one or someone close to you can be. We lead with compassion and experience, acting as a trusted shoulder to lean on as we help you navigate your legal obligations. To help simplify your experience, we have created a general step-by-step guide to refer to below.
1. Notify Family & Friends of the Deceased’s Death
It is no longer obligatory to publish a notice in a local paper to notify friends and family, though you can certainly still do so if you wish. This information will include if and when you intend to hold a funeral or memorial. The funeral home can generally assist you with this.
2. Organise the Funeral or Memorial
The deceased’s Will may include specific wishes or directions regarding their funeral or memorial, including insurance information to cover such costs.
Generally, if you are the executor of the estate, you are authorised to obtain a copy of the original Will (if any) to learn your obligations and entitlements. ORG can collect a copy of the Will for you at no charge – simply call us on (07) 3221 9722 or submit an enquiry via our contact page.
3. Notify Government Departments & Institutions of the Deceased’s Death
Depending on your situation, you may need to advise some or all of the following:
- Department of Social Security (Centrelink)
- Department of Veteran Affairs
- Superannuation Company
- Solicitor and/or Public Trustee
- Bank/ Building Society
- Credit Union/ Friendly Society
- Financial Institution
- Credit Card Provider/s
- insurance Companies
- Employers/ Former Employers
- Trade Union/ Professional Association
- Australian Taxation Office
- Doctor/ Specialist/ Hospital
- Dentist/ Chemist
- Transport Department
- Electoral Office
- Local Council
- Health Benefits Fund
- Clubs and Associations
- Church/ Religious Organisation
- Home Help/ Gardeners/ Meals on Wheels
- Home Nursing Service
- Home Deliveries/ Milk & Papers etc.
- Appliance Rentals
- Post Office/ Mail Deliveries
- Ambulance Service
- Telephone/ Electricity/ Gas
- School/ College
- Companies/ Directorships etc.
- Chamber of Commerce
- Service Organisations/ Rotary, Lions etc.
It is imperative to determine if the deceased has insurance on their principal place of residence – if no one currently lives there, it may void the insurance policy.
You will complete most paperwork with the funeral home, which includes officially registering the death and applying for a Death Certificate. In addition, there are generally forms that notify Centrelink of the deceased’s death once sent off by the funeral home.
4. Cancel All Non-Essential Services
These may include:
- Mobile phones
- Entertainment/Streaming services (such as Foxtel, Netflix etc.)
- Frequent Flyer services (such as Qantas, Virgin etc.)
- Shopping Rewards (such as Flybuys, Woolworths Rewards etc.). \
5. Notify Banks of the Deceased’s Death
When someone passes away, it’s crucial to notify the bank so they can distribute the contents in line with the deceased’s Will before closing all their accounts. This step is particularly important if the deceased had a mortgage, so the bank knows why repayments have stopped.
We also recommend ensuring that all asset insurance, such as real property and motor vehicles, is current to protect them before distribution.
6. Determine if You Need a Grant of Probate
Some banks and financial institutions will require the executor or the administrator to obtain a Grant to Probate before they begin distributing assets. However, in some circumstances, an executor or administrator won’t need a Grant of Probate.
If you need further information or assistance with any of these steps, please visit our website or reach out to our team directly. We offer free initial consultations and a wealth of professional legal support.
This publication is for information only and not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please let us know.
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