How to manage your finances after a death in the family
If you’ve recently lost a loved one, rest assured we are here to help you through the financial side of things.
The loss of a family member, in particular a spouse, can have a massive impact on your financial situation.
In this article, we offer some advice about how to manage your finances after a death in the family.
Seek professional advice
It’s important to obtain expert advice about how to manage your finances if a family member dies, especially if it’s your partner.
LDB can offer assistance with everything from keeping up with expenses, to the tax implications of losing your spouse.
It’s also a good idea to seek legal advice following a death.
Do a stocktake of assets
When your partner dies, you usually inherit any assets previously held in joint names.
If property is held as tenants in common, your partner’s share goes to the estate, and if it is sold within two years of death it will be exempt from capital gains tax.
If you and your partner held shares in joint names, you can ask the share registry to transfer ownership to you, without having to pay capital gains tax.
If the shares were in your partner’s name, they will be distributed according to their will.
If your partner had superannuation, you should contact their super fund to check whether you are eligible for a payment. Super benefits paid to spouses and dependent children are tax-free.
Any debts held by the deceased will be paid from the estate, and you will not be liable to cover them unless the debts are in joint names.
Manage the will
The executor will distribute your loved one’s assets, once all debts and taxes are paid and the Supreme Court has granted probate, or validated the will.
The executor will need the deceased’s banking records, credit cards, taxation records, superannuation details, and records of investments.
If there is no will, the estate will be distributed according to a pre-determined formula by the government.
Plan the funeral
If the death was expected, the deceased may have pre-paid their funeral.
Check with your loved one’s solicitor or the executor as to whether any plans were in place.
If no funds were set aside, your spouse’s bank may release funds for the funeral before probate is granted.
Find out about insurance and other financial assistance
Life insurance may be paid to beneficiaries as soon as 48 hours after the presentation of a death certificate, provided the death is not deemed suspicious by the insurance company.
You may also be entitled to financial assistance through the Department of Human Services.
Inform service providers
It’s important to inform service providers about the death and to update the names on your accounts.
The deceased’s financial assets and bank accounts will be automatically frozen until their estate is settled.
If you have a joint account, you should still have access to the funds.
We are here to help
For support with your finances after the death of a family member, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We offer a range of services, from taxation and superannuation advice, to financial planning and support with property-related matters.
To find out more, please call (03) 9875 2900 or send us details via the contact form below.