Administering a Deceased Estate FAQs

What will happen to the deceased's bank account when I inform the bank of his/her passing?

Upon notification of the passing of the deceased, the bank will freeze the deceased’s bank accounts. Whilst interest will continue to accrue on the accounts and term deposits, you will need to ensure that all direct debit arrangements have been stopped to avoid incurring dishonour fees.

The deceased has a mortgage and/or personal loan and/or car loan. What do I do about the loan repayments?

We recommend you contact the bank or organisation with whom the loan is held. Inform them of the passing of the deceased and discuss loan repayment options. In certain circumstances, the bank or organisation may be willing to withhold their requirement for loan repayments and/or waive any dishonour fees pending the sale of the asset or the repayment of the loan from estate funds when they become available.

Will the estate have to pay stamp duty or capital gains tax on the transfer of property or shares?

In Queensland, whilst stamp duty is not imposed on the transfer of property pursuant to the terms of a Will, there are certain circumstances when stamp duty may arise. If you are unsure whether the transfer of property will incur stamp duty, we recommend you contact a solicitor who will be able to advise you of any stamp duty implications which may be applicable.

In relation to taxation implications, generally if a property is sold by a beneficiary within three (3) years of the passing of the deceased and the property was the principal place of residence of the deceased prior to their death, capital gains tax will not be payable. We recommend, however, that if the property is proposed to be sold that you liaise with an accountant concerning any taxation implications from the sale.

I have been told I need 'Letters of Administration' or a 'Grant of Probate'. What does this mean?

In certain circumstances, institutions may require Letters of Administration or a Grant of Probate be provided to them before they are willing to release the deceased’s assets.

If a Will exists, Letters of Administration with the Will or a Grant of Probate is a copy of the Will which has been sealed by the Supreme Court of Queensland as evidence that the last Will and Testament of the deceased is a valid document.

If a Will does not exist, Letters of Administration on Intestacy, is a document produced by the Supreme Court of Queensland which confirms the nomination of a person to administer the estate.

Obtaining Letters of Administration or a Grant of Probate can be a complex process. In this regard, we recommend you liaise with a solicitor to assist you in obtaining this legal document.

I have been told I need to provide a 'certified copy' of documents. What does this mean?

When an institution requests a certified copy of a document, they are asking for a photocopy of the original document which has been certified by a solicitor, Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Declarations.

Most major shopping centres provide stalls for Justices of the Peace to witness documents on specific days. If your local shopping centre does not provide such a stall, we recommend you visit the Queensland Government website which contains a search engine for locating a Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Declarations closest to you.

Note, that in Queensland, certification by pharmacists or police officers will not be accepted as valid certification.

I was the Power of Attorney for the deceased. Can I rely on the Power of Attorney to administer the estate (e.g. to withdraw money from the deceased's bank account before it is frozen)?

No. As soon as the deceased has passed away, the Power of Attorney comes to an end and the provisions of the Will apply.

I feel the executor is administering the estate inappropriately. What can I do?

Executors of an estate are obligated to act promptly and reasonably when administering an estate. This includes keeping beneficiaries regularly informed on the manner in which the estate is being administered and promptly attending to the collation, and subsequent distribution, of the assets of the estate (after first attending to payment of the liabilities of the estate).

If you feel the executor is failing to keep beneficiaries appropriately informed of the administration of the estate, or is failing to promptly or appropriately manage the assets of the estate, we would recommend you contact a solicitor and inform them of your concerns so appropriate and prompt action can be taken. In extreme circumstances, it may be possible to have the executor removed and an alternative executor appointed to continue the administration of the estate.

If you're looking for an experienced estate lawyer on the Gold Coast or need help with will related matters contact ABKJ.