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Executor checklist

Initial steps

  • Obtain the last will and read it carefully

  • Place a notice in a newspaper about the death of the testator

  • Arrange the funeral and either pay for it or present the invoice to the deceased's bank for payment

  • Obtain advice from a legal practitioner

  • Identify the beneficiaries

  • Notify the beneficiaries of their entitlements and give them a copy of the will

  • Obtain death certificate from funeral director


Executor administering the Estate


Without death certificate

  • Make a list of all assets

  • Make a video recording or photograph all household items

  • Inspect properties and ensure all property is secured by changing locks on doors, moving vehicles to secure location and storing valuable household items securely

  • Insure all property

  • Redirect mail

  • Notify the following persons and organisations:

    • Family and friends

    • Funeral director

    • Funeral insurance company

    • Funeral bond provider

    • Religious advisor

    • Professionals such as solicitors, accountants, financial advisors

    • Superannuation fund

    • Banks and credit unions

    • Credit card and hire purchase providers

    • Australian Electoral Commission

    • Department of Veterans’ Affairs

    • Education providers

    • Employers

    • Foreign pension authority

    • Health benefits fund

    • Health professionals such as doctors, physiotherapists, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists

    • Insurance companies

    • Landlord, tenants

    • Telecommunication providers such as phones, internet

    • Utilities such as gas, electricity and phone companies

    • Vehicle registration and licensing authorities

  • Cancel driver’s licence

  • Cancel Centrelink payments

  • Claim medical expenses

  • Cancel memberships and claim refunds

  • Cancel health insurance and claim a refund

  • Notify home and contents insurance if a property is unoccupied

  • Write to the financial institutions where the testator held accounts and ask for the specific requirements for releasing the funds

  • Ask to see any records made by any attorney under an enduring power of attorney


With death certificate

  • Apply for a grant of probate

  • Take instructions from beneficiaries about the sale or transfer of assets

  • Transfer vehicles

  • Write to share registries to confirm shareholdings and dividends paid

  • Write to the accountant and superannuation funds manager to confirm the financial details


After the grant of probate

  • Advertise for creditors

  • Open an estate bank account

  • Write to all financial institutions and share registries enclosing a certified copy of the grant of probate and directions for payment

  • Apply for an estate tax file number

  • Sell real estate and other assets

  • Pay debts and liabilities

  • Close online accounts, mobile apps and social media

  • Establish testamentary trusts with advice from an accountant

  • Wait for the expiry of the six month limitation period for family provision claims against the estate

  • Prepare estate accounts showing all money collected and paid on behalf of the estate

  • Prepare financial details to lodge any outstanding tax returns of the testator

  • Prepare tax return for the estate

  • Attend to reimbursement of expenses incurred on behalf of the estate

  • Distribute the estate to the beneficiaries under the terms of the will.


If you need help, call Crystal Lawyers on 04211 45637.


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