Managing the administration of a deceased estate during a time of grieving can be overwhelming. As the executor of the estate you may be wondering where to begin. The executor is responsible for managing and protecting the assets of the deceased until those assets have been passed on to the beneficiares. The executor must avoid conflits of interest and must act in the best intersts of the estate and all the beneficiaries.

Firstly, what does an estate comprises of?

  • The estate includes all assets that belong to the deceased person, this may include real property, shareholding, money in the bank etc.
  • Assets from the deceased’s individual holdings will form part of the deceased estate. However, assets that are jointly held with someone else will not form part of the estate. Jointly owned assets revert to the suviving owner(s) on death.
  • By defualt a superannuation fund balance does not form part of the decesaesd estate. However, if a nomination is put in place by the deceased electing that the superannuation balance will form part of the estate, then the balance will be transferred to the deceased estate on death. Please note some superannuation funds automatically nominate that the decease’s superannuation balance is to be sent directly to the deceased estate on death. What happens to the superannuation balance on death depends on the particulars of superannuation fund, it is not dependant on the will.

Once all the deceased estate assets and liabilies have been determined the executor effectively holds the assets in trust from the time of deceased’s date of death until the date of transfer of the assets to the beneficiaries, as nominated in the will. Subject to the will assets within the deceased estate can be sold, or loans called in and liabilities of the estate paid out.

At Saward Dawson, we assist you with:

  • Preparing a date of death income tax return for the deceased (including any outstanding prior years income tax returns). The date of death income tax return covers income generated from 1 July until the date of the decease’s passing.
  • Applying for a Tax File Number for the deceased estate (if necessary).
  • Preparing a deceased estate income tax return (if required). This income tax return covers income generated from the date of the individual’s passing until 30 June of the relevant financial year.
  • Calculate any distributions from the Estate to the beneficiaries and prepare distribution statements for those beneficiaries who may need to include the income in their personal income tax returns.
  • Advise on the process and assist with the necessary steps to administer an estate.

There are a number of planning opportunities and legal responsibilities that must be considered when administering an Estate. This includes when to sell the assets and when to transfer the assets to the beneficiaries.

Paul Tan

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