Not all assets of a deceased person are available for distribution to beneficiaries, why not?
Jointly owned property
Jointly owned bank accounts and shares as well as real property owned as “joint tenants” will revert to the survivor of the jointly owned asset no matter what was referred to in the deceased’s Will. Real property owned as “tenants in common” will form part of the deceased’s estate which is distributed in accordance with the Will or the intestacy rules.
Superannuation/Life Insurance policies
The deceased may have made a legal nomination as to the person who is to receive the benefit. Accordingly, the benefit may be payable directly to that person or may be payable to the estate to be distributed in accordance with the Will or intestacy rules.
If the deceased person was the appointer of a trust, then they may be able to appoint a successor. By law, it will depend on the terms of the trust deed and/or the Will as to who the successor will be. Sometimes this will automatically be the legal personal representative of the deceased person, other times it will be a person nominated by the deceased person in their Will.
An executor is responsible to finalise the deceased person’s personal and estate tax affairs including income tax and capital gains tax. Accordingly, all tax records should be retained and passed on to the accountant who is engaged to finalise the tax affairs.
If you would like more information regarding the assets and liabilities of an estate or any other estate matter, please ring our Estates Laws Team on 1300 HATZIS (1300 428 947) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.