Step 22 – Deceased Estate Administration Guide
How to Cancel Contracts, Subscriptions & Insurances After Death
- Last Updated: August 2023
This step helps you structure your approach when evaluating if certain services, subscriptions, policies and memberships continue to be needed or if these can be cancelled to stop unnecessary payments and save money for the Estate.
OverviewThis step is mainly concerned with cancelling financial outgoings to reduce Deceased Estate expenditure for products and services that are no longer required. You will need to:
- determine which of the identified services are no longer required;
- find out if the contract is enforceable after death;
- officially cancel subscriptions, policies and any other contracts; and
- cancel related direct debits or credit card payments.
If you completed Step 12 – Notification of Government Departments & Service Providers of the Death, you should by now have had a response with instructions. Always make sure to familiarise yourself with your rights under the terms and conditions of each agreement and your state/territory's consumer laws.
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22.1 Cancel Utilities After Death
Determine if utilities such as water, electricity and gas are still needed at the deceased person's residence. Follow the instructions provided by the utility company in response to your notification as outlined in Step 12.
If the deceased owned the home, you may continue paying the standard connection fees or check with each provider what options are available to reduce the ongoing costs to a minimum.
If the deceased leased a property, then all utility companies should be notified by you or the agent to stop incurring charges once the lease contract is terminated.
If a real estate was or will be transferred to the surviving joint owner or tenant, then that person is responsible for changing the name on utility bills after the death and pay for utilities.
Utilities can’t always be disconnected from a property. We recommend checking with the utilities providers in the area.
22.2 Cancel Communications Services (Telephone, Internet and Mobile Phone) After Death
All contracts for the landline, internet and mobile phone can be officially cancelled immediately or transferred into another person's name.The most common providers are:
- Virgin mobile
Follow the instructions provided by the communication company in response to your notification as outlined in Step 12 – Notification of Government Departments & Service Providers of the Death.
If a real estate was or will be transferred to the surviving joint owner, then that person is responsible to pay for telecommunication services.
22.3 Cancel Media (Newspapers, Magazines, Paid TV, Music) Subscriptions After Death
All media related services can be cancelled immediately or transferred into another person's name.These can include but are not limited to:
- newspaper subscription (paper or online)
- magazine subscription (paper or online)
- paid TV subscription (e.g. Foxtel, Netflix, Stan)
- music streaming services (e.g. Spotify)
Follow the instructions provided by the media company in response to your notification as outlined in Step 12 – Notification of Government Departments & Service Providers of the Death.
22.4 Cancel Insurance Policies After Death
- Home & contents insurance
- Vehicle insurance
- Roadside assist
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Pet insurance etc.
Note: You should maintain or put in place insurances on behalf of the Deceased Estate to ensure no negative financial impact on the Estate in the case of a theft or damage.
If life insurances were in place, there may be an insurance claim benefit payable. Check with the relevant insurer about this before cancelling to make sure you can still claim at a later stage as described in Step 25 – Claiming Life Insurance & Other Benefits.
If a real estate or vehicle was or will be transferred to the surviving joint owner, then that person is responsible to pay for insurance from the transfer date onwards.
22.5 Cancel Lease Agreements After Death
If the deceased had a vehicle lease agreement, you will need to check with the leasing company about the lease obligations after death to determine your options.
If the deceased person was renting their home and you have not dealt with the rental agreement yet, you should read Step 16.6 – Rental Property. You should notify the relevant parties and end the agreement if you can, depending your state/territory legislation as outlined in Step 16.6, to stop paying rent as soon as possible.
22.6 Cancel Other Common Services After Death
There may be a raft of other services and subscriptions the deceased may have utilised. A good way to find out about such regular payments is to check the bank statements as outlined in Step 19.10 – How to Get Bank Statements of the Deceased.Some other common services may be:
- Sport Clubs
- Gym Memberships
- Sport Season Memberships
- Social Clubs
- Travel Clubs
- Professional Memberships etc.
22.7 Consumer Laws
Australian consumers are protected by law and it is always good to know your rights under these and the terms and conditions of an agreement.
You can check what applies to your state/territory based on the common information compiled below:
Consumer Protection – Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and SafetyPhone: 1300 304 054
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm AWST
Address: Level 2 (Reception), 140 William Street (please use the public entrance off Railway Lane from the Murray Street Mall), Perth WA 6000
Post: Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Consumer Protection, Locked Bag 14, Cloisters Square, WA 6850
Regional: Find you regional office here Website
Find out more on the Consumer Protection – Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.
Fair Trading NSWPhone: 13 32 20
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm AEST
Email: You can contact the Fair Trading NSW here
Address: Find a Service Centre near you here
Post: NSW Fair Trading, PO Box 972, Parramatta NSW 2124 Website
Find out more on the Fair Trading NSW website.
Consumer Affairs VictoriaPhone: 1300 55 81 81
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm AEST
Email: You can contact the Consumer Affairs Victoria here
Metropolitan Offices: Box Hill, Dandenong, Reservoir, Werribee
Regional Offices: Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Morwell, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool, Wodonga
Post: Consumer Affairs Victoria, GPO Box 123, Melbourne VIC 3001 Website
Find our more on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
Fair Trading QLDPhone: 13 74 68
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:30am – 4:30pm AEST
Address: Find your Fair Trading Services office location near you here
Post: Office of Fair Trading, GPO Box 3111, Brisbane QLD 4001 Website
Find out more on the Fair Trading QLD website.
You are currently on Step 22 – How to Cancel Contracts, Subscriptions & Insurances After Death. Other steps of interest may be:< Step 12 – Notification of Government Departments & Service Providers of the Death < Step 14 – Paying Deceased's Bills Before Probate (Solvent & Insolvent Estates) > Step 27 – Grant of Probate Application or Applying for Letters of Administration
Actions and Decisions to Complete Step Yourself
If you have decided to complete this Step yourself, some actions and decisions may be to:
- Determine which of the identified services are no longer required (see Step 22.1 to Step 22.6 above);
- Cancel subscriptions, policies and any other contracts that you can terminate according to consumer laws (see Step 22.7 above); and
- Cancel related direct debits or credit card payments.
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Cost & Effort
Reading: 20 mins
Completing: 1-3 hrs
Total: 1:20-3:20 hrs
Effort and cost are general estimates only and are based on the assumption that you complete this step without experienced support.
To find out how this Process Guide works, access the instructions here.
To find out what the capitalised words mean, access the glossary here.
Other forms not listed here may be required based on your specific circumstances.
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