If you are the partner or spouse of a person, you should make yourself aware of the following, while your partner is alive:

  1. Where is your partner’s will located or stored (at the bank or a solicitor’s safe custody)?
  2. Are you the executor of the person’s will? – If not who is?
  3. Does your partner have funeral insurance? – if so, place the policy in a secure place, where it can be referred to, when needed.
  4. What bank accounts does your partner have and are you nominated as a joint owner of the account?
  5. Does your partner have any other assets in their sole name, such as shares or superannuation?

When your partner dies:

Firstly, contact the funeral directors and the funeral insurer. The funeral directors will come to your house to see you and discuss the proceedings for the service with you, including contacting the funeral insurer for payment.

Secondly, in relation to all bills of the deceased, including funeral director’s fees (if your spouse does not have funeral insurance), you can:

  1. pay them from any jointly held bank account;
  2. pay them from your own bank account (and claim these costs back from the estate of the deceased in due course, via the solicitors for the deceased’s estate); or
  3. present at the deceased’s bank and request that you be able to take money out of the deceased’s bank account to pay for, firstly, the funeral service then, other bills (the bank may not agree to other bills). Take a copy of the death notice with you and also a copy of the deceased’s will. This should be sufficient for you to ensure that the bank agrees to pay the funeral directors fees, at least.

Winding up the Deceased’s Estate:

The death certificate will be provided to you by the funeral director, usually within 14 days of the funeral service, for passing on to the executor of the deceased’s estate.

The executor named under the will should take the death certificate to the office of your partner’s solicitor and give it to him/her. They will need the original for many reasons.

The executor will be asked to provide much information to enable wind up of the estate and the solicitor will explain the process to the executor.

The executor will be asked to provide original ID of himself or herself; full personal details of all executors and beneficiaries named in the Will; details of any bank accounts, pensions, property and other assets in the name of the deceased; and copies of all bills either paid by the executor or unpaid.

At this point the executor and the solicitor agree that all beneficiaries be written to by the solicitor acting for the deceased’s estate under the instruction of the executor. The letter then explains the steps in the winding up of the estate.

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To learn more about this topic – please contact Wilson Haynes Law
ph 07 5536 3055 or via email admin@wilsonhayneslaw.com.au

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