Dealing with the paperwork and admin after someone dies in Australia can be overwhelming, especially if you are also coping with the shock and grief of a death.
Managing a person’s estate is likely to include the process of closing their accounts and informing many organisations that they have passed away. We have summarised the steps you might need to consider:
Step One – The death certificate
An important first step is to obtain a Death Certificate from Births Deaths and Marriages. This is one of the most important documents required. It is not to be confused with the MCOD (medical certificate of death) from the GP or the Coroner’s release.
You will be asked for the death certificate when contacting many of the organisations below, as proof of the death.
Depending on how quickly we can get confirmation of the death (MCOD) from either the GP or the Coroner’s Court, this usually takes a week or two. The Death Certificate will be posted to you by express post, from Births Deaths and Marriages.
Step Two – Notifying relevant authorities and organisations after someone dies
If there is a will, the named ‘executor’ is responsible for handling the deceased’s estate. If there’s no will, someone may need to apply to the court to become the administrator. This involves legal processes and paperwork to manage the deceased person’s assets, debts, and distribute their estate.
What is the Australian Death Notification Service:
The ADNS is a free government platform.
The service allows you to notify multiple banks and financial institutions of a person’s death with a single notification in Australia.
Using the service can save you time and reduce stress during an already difficult time.
The List – who to inform after someone passes away in Australia
This is a generalised list – keep in mind that there are specific requirements and procedures that vary depending on the circumstances and your relationship to the deceased person. It’s advisable to consult with legal or administrative professionals for accurate and up-to-date guidance.
- Australian Taxation Office (ATO): Notify the ATO to handle any outstanding tax issues, lodge final tax returns, and handle any necessary tax matters. The deceased person’s final tax return will need to be filed by the executor or administrator
- Centrelink: If they were receiving any government benefits, you’ll need to inform Centrelink to stop the payments and deal with any outstanding matters
- Department of Human Services: If they were a recipient of any government services, notifying this department is important
- Medicare: Cancel their Medicare benefits
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs: If they were a veteran, notify this department to manage any entitlements or benefits
- Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration Authorities: If they had a driver’s license or owned a vehicle
- Australian Electoral Commission: Remove their name from the electoral roll to prevent any future mail or communication
- Banks and Financial Institutions: Notify the banks and financial institutions where they held accounts, investments, or loans
- Superannuation Fund: If they had a superannuation fund, notify the fund to discuss the process for distributing the superannuation benefits
- Insurance Companies: Notify the relevant insurance companies including life insurance, health insurance, or property insurance
- Dealing with Debts: Address any outstanding debts or liabilities they had. Creditors should be notified of the death
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC): If they were a company director or shareholder, you might need to notify ASIC
- Utilities and Service Providers: Inform utility companies such as gas, electricity, water, and phone providers to close or transfer accounts
- Subscriptions: This includes online and subscriptions such as Netflix and internet providers
- Local Council: If they owned property, notify the local council for rates and property tax purposes
- Department of Home Affairs: If they were not an Australian citizen, you might need to inform this department
- Employer or Business Associates: Inform their employer and business associates.
- Healthcare Providers: Notify doctors, specialists and hospitals where they received medical treatment
- Close Social Media and Online Accounts: Consider closing or memorialising social media accounts and other online profiles
- Public Trustee, Executor & Family: If there is a public trustee involved or an appointed executor, they may assist in managing the deceased’s affairs and assets. Keep immediate family updated too!
Please remember that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other organisations or individuals that you need to notify based on the specific circumstances of the deceased and their estate.
We cannot emphasise enough that you may need to seek legal advice or consult the relevant authorities for accurate guidance tailored to your situation.
Tying up a person’s affairs after a death can be a big job. Take it step by step and always seek assistance from professionals when needed.