What To Do As An Executor of A Deceased Estate in NSW

overview of a deceased gravesite

If you’ve never been involved in the settling of a deceased estate, Complete Clearing has put together this step by step guide to help you manage all that is included.

What is a Deceased Estate?

A deceased estate is the property and capital of a person who has passed away, often including a home, money and personal effects; it can also consist of debts and liabilities. 

A deceased estate can include several things such as:

  • money in bank accounts
  • shares 
  • real estate 
  • jewellery 
  • furniture 
  • cars  
  • liabilities such as mortgages and loans

How To Manage a Deceased Estate

There are many important things to consider when managing a deceased estate. It may fall on the shoulders of a beneficiary or an executor. Here are the things you need to know. For more information, you can contact the ATO, Centrelink or a lawyer.

What is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is any person who receives benefits, profits or advantages typically monetary from a trust, will or life insurance policy. 

In the case of a deceased estate, a beneficiary is a person who receives all or part of said estate.

If you have been appointed a beneficiary, you are able to go through the will and make a copy of it if you wish. You may also wish to seek legal advice regarding what you believe you are entitled to. 

What is an Executor? 

An executor is a person who is accountable for managing the affairs of the deceased person’s estate. This includes arranging the funeral, carrying out the transfer of assets to beneficiaries and performing any other final wishes set by the deceased.

If you have been appointed as an executor, there are several tasks that are included in the role. It may be a good idea to seek help and advice.

The executor may also be a beneficiary. The departed person chooses the executor before they die; it’s usually written in their will.

The executor is responsible for handling the estate, ensuring all beneficiaries receive their share of the estate as per the wishes of the deceased person.

The executor doesn’t need to be a beneficiary nor does a beneficiary need to be an executor. For example, an executor could be a family lawyer or friend who receives no benefit from the will.

What To Do As An Executor of A Deceased Estate

Notify Proper Government Agencies (if not done already).

If you are the executor of a deceased person’s estate, below is some general advice for getting started in executing a deceased estate.

  1. Procure a death certificate
    First, ensure the death is registered by a doctor or funeral director at Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria. Once the death has been registered, you can apply for a death certificate on the Births Deaths and Marriages website.
  1. Notify the ATO
    Be sure to notify the ATO online or by filling out a hard copy form. Notify Centrelink by calling the bereavement line, visiting a Centrelink service centre or complete and submit an Advice of Death’ form. This should be completed as soon as you are able.
    Several other government agencies will need to be notified. Check out this list provided by the Department of Human Services.
    You must also register the death with the Births Deaths and Marriages registry in your state or territory.

    Procure the tax file number (TFN) for the deceased estate to lodge the person’s final tax return and any outstanding returns from previous years if necessary. 
    To assist with organising the deceased estate’s tax affairs, you can check the ATO’s Deceased estate checklist.
  1. Centrelink
    Inform Centrelink of the death by calling the bereavement line, visiting a Centrelink service centre or complete and submit an Advice of Death form.
  1. Finalising The Estate
    It can take a long time to finalise the estate of someone who has passed. It can be a difficult time; it’s vital to seek help where necessary. 
  1. The Funeral
    Assuming you have your death certificate from step 1 above, a funeral director can then be appointed to assist in the arrangements of the funeral. You can search for a funeral director online. It’s a good idea to consider price, reviews, qualifications and location when selecting a funeral director.
    As an executor, you’ll have a meeting with the funeral director or organise important aspects of the funeral. Things that need to be organised may include:
  • the funeral service
  • preparation of the deceased 
  • transportation of the deceased
  • arranging a funeral celebrant

    It’s then essential to notify the deceased person’s friends, family and even colleagues of the event. In today’s modern environment that can frequently be done through a mix of phone calls, email and social media. However, it’s also common practice to place a listing in the local newspaper many of the older generations still actively read and scan the obituaries. Often, your funeral director can help you with this.
    A final thing to consider is the cemetery or cremation arrangements. 
  1. Settle Debts
    A part of settling a deceased estate is also to pay any debts the person may have. This includes mortgages, personal loans or any other outstanding debts.
  1. Executing A Will
    Often before a person dies, they organise a will. A will is a document that states a person’s final wishes for what happens to their assets and valuables. It’s the executor’s responsibility to carry out the terms of the will.
    If there’s no will, the executor is to comply with the relevant inheritance laws in that state or territory.
    The executor will also need to obtain probate. A probate is a document that establishes the legality of the will. The probate is given by the Supreme Court of your state or territory. This can be applied for online on the Supreme Court of Victoria’s website. 

How To Get A Deceased Estate Property Ready For Sale Or Rent

Often when someone dies, their property is to be cleared and readied to be sold or leased. This can be a daunting task; Complete Clearing is here to assist.

With the help of our professional staff, we will assist in removing all items of sentimental value that the deceased family or close friends may desire to keep.

Any items that are of commercial value are removed and how and where to sell them will be determined. Some proceeds will be returned to you.

The Complete Clearing team will then remove all the rubbish from inside and outside the property ready to be cleaned from top to bottom. 

We’ll use the best quality products and equipment to assure the property is spotless. Following the thorough cleaning process, Complete Clearing will inspect the property as a renter or buyer would. 

Finally, the property is ready to be sold or leased!


Losing a loved one is a challenging and sad time and while all the things that need to be done can be intimidating, know that there’s always help. Be sure to reach out to family and friends for support and where possible, take a little of the load off by contacting us at Complete Clearing. We’re here to assist and leave you with one less thing to worry about. 


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