Overview

Before finalising the estate and making the final distributions to Beneficiaries covered in the next and final Step, you should:
  • inform Beneficiaries what the total assets and liabilities are, subject to any final changes to the estate;
  • seek tax advice for the estate; and
  • suggest that Beneficiaries seek tax and financial advice.

Note: It is highly recommended that you work through each of the following topics prior to progressing with the final Step of the deceased estate administration process.

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33.1 Inform Beneficiaries of their Expected Inheritance

Now that you have nearly finalised the deceased estate for distribution, you may already have a good idea what assets and liabilities of the deceased estate will be transferred to which Beneficiary. Use the simplyEstate Beneficiary Statement of Inheritance Template to create a letter to each beneficiary of the estate.

If a Will is in place and the administration process thus far has been supported by family members and Beneficiaries, you should have a good idea of the eligible Beneficiaries, their particular inheritance and the total value.
If no Will is in place, you have determined the likely Beneficiaries and what their estimated inheritance value is in Step 13 – Determine the Beneficiaries using the simplyEstate Intestate Beneficiary Assessment Tool.

If claims were made against an estate or there has been some hostility or animosity between family members and Beneficiaries, you should seek legal advice before making any commitments and stating specifics to individual Beneficiaries.

Make sure you do not overstate the inheritance at this stage if still unsure as you want to manage the Beneficiaries’ expectations.
Even if you are unable to derive at a figure just yet, it is still worthwhile speaking with each Beneficiary or their legal guardian about the concept of inheritance and which assets and liabilities are available for distribution.

33.2 Determine Beneficiaries’ Financial Risk Exposure

By speaking to each Beneficiary, you fill get a good sense if they have a good understanding of finances and will be able to make good financial decisions.

Others who may not be so familiar with their options, may not make equally good decisions and possibly make unreasonable and impulsive choices such as:
  • resign from their jobs;
  • increase their spending unreasonably;
  • buy real estate in a bad market;
  • overcommit themselves by increasing their debts; or
  • waste the money on unimportant or value destructing goods and services.

If you have any concerns about a Beneficiary’s ability to make these decisions and possibly put themselves at financial risk, you can maybe help by suggesting they seek appropriate advice.

Note: The decision to seek advice is ultimately up to each Beneficiary and not the Executor or Administrator.

33.3 Beneficiaries Taking on Assets they Cannot Service and Maintain

There may be situations where one or multiple Beneficiaries have a strong sentiment towards a family home or other expensive assets.
If the decision was made not to sell that asset, Beneficiaries will need to be fully aware of the ongoing costs associated with servicing financial obligations and maintenance.

Especially with real estate that are still mortgaged or require a new mortgage by a Beneficiary to pay-out other parties, the person inheriting should fully understand all aspects associated with property ownership such as the following to work out if they can afford the inherited asset(s).
  • value of the mortgage associated with the inherited property;
  • the minimum repayments of that mortgage and how those payments will change if interest rates increase during the life of the mortgage;
  • the duration of those repayments;
  • all other rates including council, water and strata levies (where applicable);
  • costs of the ongoing maintenance of the property etc.

33.4 Seek Professional Advice

If you did not seek tax advice about the estate assets and liabilities for the most effective distribution in Step 28 – Request Tax Advice for Effective Distribution, you may want to do so.

If Beneficiaries are interested in seeking personal tax advice for their inheritance, you may share the tax specialist’s contact details you used. If you did seek tax advice, you may want to share that with all Beneficiaries to help them get an understanding of the tax implications on the estate.

simplyEstate works with select Trusted Partners across Australia, as listed to the right or below, who would happily help you and/or the Beneficiaries make the most informed decisions.

33.5 Investment options for Beneficiaries

An inheritance, be that money or other assets, can be a valuable additional part of a Beneficiary’s income stream or capital gains strategy, if done right.

If you think that a Beneficiary could benefit from investing some or all the inheritance money into an investment fund or other investment opportunities, you can suggest that the Beneficiaries speak with a Financial Planner.

If Beneficiaries inherit real estate, they may want to consider renting the property out to generate income, after seeking tax advice. Depending on the state of the property and a real estate agent’s advice, it may be worthwhile investing some money to renovate and refurbish the property to achieve higher rental returns.

Note: The decision to seek advice is ultimately up to each Beneficiary and not the Executor or Administrator.

33.6 Pressure by Beneficiaries for Immediate Distribution

If Beneficiaries are pressuring you to make the estate distribution now, you should remind them of the following:
  • As the Executor or Administrator authorised to administer the deceased estate you oversee the process and determine when the estate is ready to be distributed.
  • Generally, you have up to 12 months from the date of death to administer an estate without Beneficiaries being able to claim interest payments on the value of their inheritance.
  • Deceased estates should generally not be distributed within six months from the date of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration were issued by the Supreme Court due to possible claims against the estate.

You have been working diligently to reach this point and have come a long way. Request some final patience from the Beneficiaries and ask for their understanding. You should emphasise that you will be working through the final Step and inform them when the distribution can be made. Do not provide a deadline if you are unsure how long the final step will take to manage expectations and avoid the same situation in a few weeks’ time.

The final Step will take longer if the deceased person died Intestate without a Will, as the distribution will need to be completed based on the legislation of the relevant State/Territory.


Complete Step

Actions and Decisions to Complete Step Yourself

If you have decided to tackle this Step yourself after reading and understanding the above, you may want to:

  1. Finalise the simplyEstate Assets & Liabilities Inventory
  2. Create the simplyEstate Beneficiary Statement of Inheritance showing each Beneficiary and inheritances (subject to changes until finalised in Step 34);
    (see Step 33.1 above);
  3. Seek legal advice if any were claims made against the estate and you are unsure about the validity of those claims;
  4. Discuss with the Beneficiaries what the estate is made up of and the total estate value (subject to changes until finalised in Step 34);
    (see Step 33.1 above);
  5. Inform Beneficiaries of the financial implications if real estate or other high-value and high-maintenance assets are inherited;
    (see Step 33.3 above and forms below); and
  6. Suggest that Beneficiaries seek tax and/or financial advice as a group or individually to benefit them if they wish;
    (see Step 33.4 above).
  7. Make Beneficiaries aware of investment options they may choose depending on their needs and circumstances
    (see Step 33.5 above).
  8. Manage pressure for distribution by explaining the final process and kindly request their patience
    (see Step 33.6 above).

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Information

Forms

Legislation

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Cost & Effort

Reading: 30 mins
Preparing: 1-3 hrs
Completing: 2-5 hrs
Total: 3:30-8:30 hrs
Cost: $0

Effort and cost are general estimates only and are based on the assumption that you complete this step without experienced support.

Instructions

To find out how this Process Guide works, access the instructions here.

Glossary

To find out what the capitalised words mean, access the glossary here.

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State
Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Forms

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Other forms not listed here may be required based on your specific circumstances.

Checklists & Tools

Use Australia’s smartest Assets & Liabilities Inventory to automatically calculate the estate value for Grant of Probate.
New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State
Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Legislation & Rules

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Other legislation and rules not listed here may apply to your specific circumstances.


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Trusted Partner Support

When you need specific expertise, get in touch with our trusted partners near you.

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
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Estate & Probate Lawyers Sydney

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Szabo and Associates Solicitors in Surry Hills Sydney New South Wales NSW

Szabo & Associates Solicitors

Surry Hills, Eastern Suburbs & North Shore

We can help with:
  • drafting Deeds of Family Arrangement
  • drafting Deeds of Settlement to reduce your personal liability
  • supporting with dispute resolution
  • dealing with Beneficiary claims
Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation. Find Out More
apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Marsdens Law Group in Sydney Camden Campbelltown Leppington Liverpool New South Wales NSW

Marsdens Law Group

Camden, Campbelltown, Leppington, Liverpool, Sydney CBD

We can help with:
  • drafting Deeds of Family Arrangement
  • drafting Deeds of Settlement to reduce your personal liability
  • supporting with dispute resolution
  • dealing with Beneficiary claims
Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation. Find Out More
apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Atkinson Vinden Lawyers in Chatswood Sydney New South Wales NSW

Atkinson Vinden Legal

Chatswood & Sydney CBD

We can help with:
  • drafting Deeds of Family Arrangement
  • drafting Deeds of Settlement to reduce your personal liability
  • supporting with dispute resolution
  • dealing with Beneficiary claims
Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation. Find Out More

Estate & Probate Lawyers Melbourne

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Carew Counsel Solicitors in Melbourne Victoria VIC

Carew Counsel

Melbourne CBD

We can help with:
  • drafting Deeds of Family Arrangement
  • drafting Deeds of Settlement to reduce your personal liability
  • supporting with dispute resolution
  • dealing with Beneficiary claims

Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation.

Find Out More

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from McNab McNab & Starke Lawyers in Melbourne Essendon Sunbury VIC

McNab McNab & Starke

Melbourne CBD, Essendon & Sunbury

We can help with:
  • drafting Deeds of Family Arrangement
  • drafting Deeds of Settlement to reduce your personal liability
  • supporting with dispute resolution
  • dealing with Beneficiary claims

Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation.

Find Out More

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Sharrock Pitman Legal in Glen Waverley Victoria VIC

Sharrock Pitman Legal

Glen Waverley

Our Accredited Specialist can help with:
  • drafting Deeds of Family Arrangement
  • drafting Deeds of Settlement to reduce your personal liability
  • supporting with dispute resolution
  • dealing with Beneficiary claims

Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation.

Find Out More

Estate & Probate Lawyers Brisbane

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from The Estate Lawyers in Brisbane Gold Coast QLD

The Estate Lawyers

Brisbane CBD & Gold Coast

We can help with:
  • drafting Deeds of Family Arrangement
  • drafting Deeds of Settlement to reduce your personal liability
  • supporting with dispute resolution
  • dealing with Beneficiary claims

Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation.

Find Out More

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Perspective Law in Brisbane QLD

Perspective Law

Brisbane

We can help with:
  • drafting Deeds of Family Arrangement
  • drafting Deeds of Settlement to reduce your personal liability
  • supporting with dispute resolution
  • dealing with Beneficiary claims

Find out if we can help during an obligation free phone consultation.

Find Out More

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