Step 22 – Deceased Estate Administration Guide

Cancel Deceased Person’s Contracts, Subscriptions & Memberships

  • Last Updated: March 2022

This step helps you structure your approach when evaluating if certain services, subscriptions, policies and memberships continue to be needed or if these can be cancelled to stop unnecessary payments and save money for the estate.

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Overview

This step is mainly concerned with cancelling financial outgoings to reduce the outflow of money from the deceased estate for products and services that are no longer required. You will need to:
  • determine which of the identified services are no longer required;
  • officially cancel subscriptions, policies and any other contracts; and
  • cancel related direct debits or credit card payments.

If you completed Step 12 – Notify the Relevant Government Departments, Companies and Organisations, you should by now have had a response with instructions. Always make sure to familiarise yourself with your rights under the terms and conditions of each agreement and your State/Territory’s consumer laws.

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22.1 Utilities

Determine if utilities such as water, electricity and gas are still needed at the deceased person’s residence. Follow the instructions provided by the utility company in response to your notification as outlined in Step 12.

If the deceased owned the home, you may continue paying the standard connection fees or check with each provider what options are available to reduce the ongoing costs to a minimum.

If the deceased leased a property, then all utility companies should be notified by you or the agent to stop incurring charges once the lease contract is terminated.

If a real estate was or will be transferred to the surviving joint owner, then that person is responsible to pay for utilities.

22.2 Communication (Telephone, Internet and Mobile Phone)

All contracts for the landline, internet and mobile phone can be officially cancelled immediately or transferred into another person’s name.

The most common providers are:
  • Telstra
  • Optus
  • Vodafone
  • Virgin mobile
  • iinet
  • BigPond

Follow the instructions provided by the communication company in response to your notification as outlined in Step 12 – Notify the Relevant Government Departments, Companies & Organisations.

If a real estate was or will be transferred to the surviving joint owner, then that person is responsible to pay for telecommunication services.

22.3 Media (Newspapers, Magazines, Paid TV, Music)

All media related services can be cancelled immediately or transferred into another person’s name.

These can include but are not limited to:
  • newspaper subscription (paper or online)
  • magazine subscription (paper or online)
  • paid TV subscription (e.g. Foxtel, Netflix, Stan)
  • music streaming services (e.g. Spotify)

Follow the instructions provided by the media company in response to your notification as outlined in Step 12 – Notify the Relevant Government Departments, Companies & Organisations.

22.4 Insurance Policies

Insurance policies that are no longer required can be cancelled immediately. Some examples of common insurances are:
  • Home & Contents insurance
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Roadside Assist
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Pet insurance etc.

Note: You should maintain or put in place insurances on behalf of the deceased estate to ensure no negative financial impact on the estate in the case of a theft or damage.

If life insurances were in place, there may be an insurance claim benefit payable. Check with the relevant insurer about this before cancelling to make sure you can still claim at a later stage as described in Step 25 – Claim Insurance & Other Benefits.

If a real estate or vehicle was or will be transferred to the surviving joint owner, then that person is responsible to pay for insurance from the transfer date onwards.

22.5 Lease Agreements

If the deceased had a vehicle lease agreement, you will need to check with the leasing company about the terms and conditions to determine your options.

If the deceased person was renting their home and you have not dealt with the rental agreement yet, you should read Step 16.4 – Rental Property. You should notify the relevant parties and end the agreement if you can, depending your State/Territory legislation as outlined in Step 16.4, and stop paying rent as soon as possible.

22.6 Other Common Services

There may be a raft of other services and subscriptions the deceased may have utilised. A good way to find out about such regular payments is to check the bank statements as outlined in Step 19.6 – Bank Statements.

Some other common services may be:
  • Sport Clubs
  • Gym Memberships
  • Sport Season Memberships
  • Social Clubs
  • Travel Clubs
  • Professional Memberships etc.

22.7 Consumer Laws

Australian consumers are protected by law and it is always good to know your rights under these and the terms and conditions of an agreement.

You can check what applies to your State/Territory based on the common information compiled below:

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State

Fair Trading NSW

Phone: 13 32 20
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm AEST
Email: You can contact the Fair Trading NSW here
Address: Find a Service Centre near you here
Post: NSW Fair Trading, PO Box 972, Parramatta NSW 2124

Website

Find out more on the Fair Trading NSW website.

Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State

Consumer Affairs Victoria

Phone: 1300 55 81 81
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm AEST
Email: You can contact the Consumer Affairs Victoria here
Metropolitan Offices: Box Hill, Dandenong, Reservoir, Werribee
Regional Offices: Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Morwell, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool, Wodonga
Post: Consumer Affairs Victoria, GPO Box 123, Melbourne VIC 3001

Website

Find our more on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

Queensland (QLD) – Brisbane change State

Fair Trading QLD

Phone: 13 74 68
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:30am – 4:30pm AEST
Email: BrisbaneOFT@justice.qld.gov.au
Address: Find your Fair Trading Services office location near you here
Post: Office of Fair Trading, GPO Box 3111, Brisbane QLD 4001

Website

Find out more on the Fair Trading QLD website.


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. Determine which of the identified services are no longer required
    (see Step 22.1 to Step 22.6 above);
  2. Cancel subscriptions, policies and any other contracts that you can terminate according to consumer laws
    (see Step 22.7 above); and
  3. Cancel related direct debits or credit card payments.

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Information

Forms

Legislation

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

Cost & Effort

Reading: 20 mins
Completing: 1-3 hrs
Total: 1:20-3:20 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.

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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 most used Estate Administration Checklists & Tools to support with the deceased estate administration and save time.
New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney change State
Victoria (VIC) – Melbourne change State
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Legislation & Rules

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


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