When someone close to you passes away, it can be difficult to work out what does and what doesn’t form part of their estate.
It is important that the Executor of the deceased’s estate takes into consideration all assets and liabilities including any debts of the deceased person as at the date of their death. This is important so that an accurate value of the estate can be established for Probate purposes.
Assets of the Deceased Estate may include –
- Properties owned by the deceased in their own name;
- Bank Accounts;
- Motor vehicles;
- Personal items in the deceased’s own name;
- Digital assets.
In New South Wales, Executors and Administrators of Estates also need to be aware of a principle known as “notional property” (property held outside the estate by a third party such as a Trustee, superannuation fund, or interests as a joint tenant in jointly owned property) which may be declared to be notional property and clawed back into the estate if there is a family provision claim against the estate challenging a Will and there are insufficient assets in the estate to fund the order for provision to be made by the Court.
Different rules may apply where property is owned jointly with other people, for example –
- Assets held jointly with another person as ‘joint tenants” will pass to the survivor by right of survivorship and will not form part of the deceased person’s estate assets;
- Assets held jointly with another person as ‘tenants in common” mean that the share or interest of the deceased person in that asset will form part of their estate assets;
- Whether or not superannuation death benefits form part of a deceased’s estate will depend on how the Trustee of the superannuation fund exercises their discretion as to whom the money is paid to, or whether the deceased had a Binding Death Benefit Nomination lodged with their superannuation fund directing the Trustee to pay the superannuation benefits to a nominated beneficiary or beneficiaries; and
- Assets held in the name of a trust or a company generally do not form part of a deceased person’s estate.
Liabilities of the Deceased Estate may include –
- Bank Loans;
- Utility bills;
- Tax Liability; and
- Testamentary expenses such as funeral expenses and estate legal costs.
If you have a question about a deceased estate, call our expert team at Brazel Moore Lawyers. Our aim is to support you through the difficult times to make finalisation of your deceased’s loved one’s estate as stress free as possible. Call now on 4324 7699.