OverviewAs you start preparing to deal with Government Departments, Companies and Organisations about the deceased estate, you will need to provide specific documents about the deceased person and proof of your identity depending on their processes to:
- inform of the death;
- close accounts;
- obtain refunds for pre-paid amounts;
- claim insurance benefits;
- claim a superannuation benefit;
- request bank statements and freeze accounts; and
- others depending on your situation.
Download Important Documents Checklist: Find out what the most commonly used documents to successfully administer a deceased estate are.
11.1 Certify Documents
When dealing with official documents and identification, you will need often need to provide certified copies or present the originals.
Note that many Organisations will not return documents submitted for processing, hence it is always best to provide a certified copy if originals are not requested.
To be safe it is always good to check with the requesting party, if an original is required and how it will be returned to you.In Australia, the following people are authorised to certify documents:
- Health Professions: Chiropractor, Dentist, Medical practitioner, Nurse, Optometrist, Pharmacist, Physiotherapist;
- Legal Professions: Legal practitioner, Patent attorney, Trademarks attorney;
- Court Positions: Bailiff, Justice of the Peace, Judge, Magistrate, Registrar, or Deputy Registrar, Clerk, Master of a court, CEO of a Commonwealth court;
- Government representatives (elected): Federal, State or Territory or Local;
- Public Servants: Federal, State or Territory or Local – employed for five years or more;
- Member of: Chartered Secretaries Australia, Engineers Australia, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy;
- Bank officer, building society officer, credit union officer, finance company officer – employed for five years or more, Veterinary surgeon, Accountant (member of ICA, ASA, IPA or CPA, ATMA, NTAA); and
- Minister of religion, Marriage celebrant, Notary public, Police Officer, Sheriff or Sheriff’s Officer, Teacher (full-time) at a school or tertiary education institution.
- Justice of the Peace;
- Notary public;
- Australian Consular Officer or Australian Diplomatic Officer (within the meaning of the CONSULAR FEES ACT 1955); and
- Employee of the Commonwealth or the Australian Trade Commission who works outside Australia.
11.2 Certified Copy of the Death Certificate
If you have completed Step 8 – Apply for the Death Certificate you should by now have received the original Death Certificate. We recommend certifying around 20 copies as this represents the key document and will be requested by many government departments, companies and organisations to prove the person has passed away.
Note: Make sure to keep the original, so further certified copies may be made as needed.
11.3 Certified Copy of the Will (where applicable)
At this stage of the administration process a certified copy of the Will should be enough to prove that you are the named Executor. Where a Will is available, you should make around 20 certified copies to be prepared. Make sure to keep the original so further certified copies may be made as needed.
Where the Will isn’t enough, you will have to provide a certified copy of the Grant of Probate. See Step 1.4 below and Step 27 – Apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration for further information
Where no Will is in place, the Administrator will need to make copies of the Letters of Administration. See Step 11.4 below for further information.
11.4 Certified Copies of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
A Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration will be needed when dealing with large financial transfers later in the administration process. Step 27 – Apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration explains this in more detail.
11.5 Certified Copies of Supporting Documents
As you initiate contact with government departments, companies and organisations you will be informed in response by each organisation about which supporting documents they will need to initiate and complete their process.
11.6 Certified Copies of Proof of Identity Documents
In many cases you as the Executor or Administrator will need to provide one, two or three forms of identification. This is to give the party you are dealing with confidence that you are the person you are claiming to be. For financial matters such as paying out bank account funds you will likely need a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, which is explained in more detail in Step 27 – Apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
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:
- Prepare all the key documents and certify copies that you will likely use during the administration process
(see Step 11.1 to Step 11.6 above; and
- Retain the original documents in a safe place in case you need to provide the originals or need to make further certified copies during the estate administration process.
Click for supporting:
Cost & Effort
Reading: 10 mins
Preparing: 30 mins
Completing: 1-2 hrs
Total: 1:40-2:40 hrs
Effort and cost are general estimates only and are based on the assumption that you complete this step without experienced support.
To find out how this Process Guide works, access the instructions here.
To find out what the capitalised words mean, access the glossary here.
Other forms not listed here may be required based on your specific circumstances.