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Step 13 - Determine the Beneficiaries

Last updated: November 2018

Why is this important?

This step’s objective is to determine all eligible Beneficiaries based on the Will (where applicable) or the intestacy rules for the relevant State/Territory. This will allow you to understand who your key stakeholders are that you will engage with throughout the administration process.

 

simplyEstate is here to help with the process. Contact us via email or book a first free phone appointment.

Approximate Effort & Cost​

Reading: 20 mins
Preparing: 1 hr
Completing: 1-2 hrs
Total: 2:20-3:20 hrs
Cost: $0

Effort and cost are general estimates only and are based on the assumption that you complete this step without specialist help.

Glossary

To find out what the capitalised words mean, access the glossary here.

Legislation

ADMINISTRATION ACT 1903 (WA) Sections 12A – 15, 24 (Austl.) (accessed 18/10/2018)

SUCCESSION ACT 2006 (NSW) Sections 101 – 140 (Austl.) (accessed 18/10/2018)

ADMINISTRATION AND PROBATE ACT 1958 (VIC) Sections 70A – 70ZL (Austl.) (accessed 18/10/2018)

SUCCESSION ACT 1981 (QLD) Sections 34 – 39D (Austl.) (accessed 18/10/2018)

Legislation shown may not be comprehensive and other legislation and rules may apply to your specific circumstances.

13.1 Overview

Determining and identifying all eligible Beneficiaries is a critical step to understand who the final distribution will likely be made to. Once you have identified each Beneficiary managing each stakeholder and working through the remainder of the process will be clearer and simpler. Working through this Step will allow you to:

  • identify and agree who the likely Beneficiaries of the estate are;
  • understand if any of the Beneficiaries were financially dependent on the deceased person;
  • identify any issues or possible areas of dispute between Beneficiaries; and
  • provide confidence to the Beneficiaries that you as the Executor or Administrator will act in the best interest of the deceased, as per their Will and as per the various Acts as explained below.

Contents
13.2 Determine Beneficiaries with a Will (Testate)
13.3 Determine Beneficiaries with Multiple Wills
13.4 Determine Beneficiaries Without a Will (Intestate)
Intestate Beneficiary Assessment Tool
13.5 Find all Beneficiaries
13.6 Meet with all Beneficiaries
13.7 Find out About Immediate Needs of Family Members
13.8 Contest a Will
13.9 Actions and Decisions to Complete Step

13.2 Determine Beneficiaries with a Will (Testate)

If the deceased left behind a valid Will, which clearly outlines all Beneficiaries you should –

  • find out their relationship to the deceased;
  • find out their contact details;
  • reach out to inform them of the death if not already done and that you are the Executor as per the Will or as agreed with the other Executors (see Step 5.7 – Will with multiple Executors) or renouncing Executor (see Step 5.8 – Resign as Executor or Administrator);
  • organise a meeting with all Beneficiaries to discuss the Will;
  • inform the Beneficiaries of the other Beneficiaries; and
  • inform the Beneficiaries about your plan and setting expectations about time-frames.

You can download the simplyEstate Beneficiaries Information Leaflet to help inform Beneficiaries of the work you are doing as the Executor to successfully administer the deceased estate. You want to secure their support and cooperation as early as possible.

 

You may also need to find out if there were other relatives that were left out of the Will as they may still have a right to claim from the estate. See Step 13.5 below for more details.

13.3 Determine Beneficiaries with Multiple Wills

There may be instances where multiple Wills or multiple versions of Wills are presented. It will be crucial to determine which of the Wills is the one with the latest date and is valid.
Where a testator (deceased person who made the Will) has multiple Wills with different Executors and/or Beneficiaries listed, this may lead to a dispute and possible claim by an Executor and/or Beneficiary that was left off a later Will.

 

If this is the case, you may want to seek help by a specialist estate lawyer to understand your options before notifying the Beneficiaries. It helps to ask for specific support to ensure you are aware of the legalities and options. This will allow you to be a well-informed Executor that anticipates possible disputes and can stay in control of the situation.

 

To keep things simple, simplyEstate has partnered with Specialist Partners across Australia in your State/Territory as listed in the yellow section to the right or below.

13.4 Determine Beneficiaries Without a Will (Intestate)

Where the deceased died intestate (without a Will), the Relevant Legislation in each State/Territory will determine who the Beneficiaries are and how much inheritance from the estate they may be eligible to.

 

If this is the case, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice to understand all laws that apply to your situation before notifying the Beneficiaries. Asking for specialist support ensures you are aware of all legalities and what to look out for. This will allow you to be a well-informed Administrator that anticipates possible disputes and can stay in control of the situation.

 

simplyEstate has partnered with Specialist Partners across Australia in your State/Territory as listed in the yellow section to the right or below.

 

Where no Will is available or was not valid, the intestate rules as outlined for each relevant State/Territory will help you get a rough understanding who may be an eligible Beneficiary for inheritance.

Intestate Beneficiary Assessment Tool

The following Intestate Beneficiary Assessment Tool will give a general indication about which Beneficiaries may be eligible and how the estate may be distributed as inheritance. Simply answer a few questions and email your result by completing your details below and clicking send.

 

Relevant Legislation – Intestacy Rules
ADMINISTRATION ACT 1903 (WA) Sections 12A – 15, 24 (Austl.) (accessed 18/10/2018)

 

Please note this is only a guide and is not legal advice as per our Terms & Conditions, which is available here.

 

Questions:

The following Intestate Beneficiary Assessment Tool will give a general indication about which Beneficiaries may be eligible and how the estate may be distributed as inheritance. Simply answer a few questions and email your result by completing your details below and clicking send.

 

Relevant Legislation – Intestacy Rules
SUCCESSION ACT 2006 (NSW) Sections 101 – 140 (Austl.) (accessed 18/10/2018)

 

Please note this is only a guide and is not legal advice as per our Terms & Conditions, which is available here.

 

Questions:

The following Intestate Beneficiary Assessment Tool will give a general indication about which Beneficiaries may be eligible and how the estate may be distributed as inheritance. Simply answer a few questions and email your result by completing your details below and clicking send.

 

 

Relevant Legislation – Intestacy Rules
ADMINISTRATION AND PROBATE ACT 1958 (VIC) Sections 70A – 70ZL (Austl.) (accessed 18/10/2018)

 

Please note this is only a guide and is not legal advice as per our Terms & Conditions, which is available here.

 

Questions:

The following Intestate Beneficiary Assessment Tool will give a general indication about which Beneficiaries may be eligible and how the estate may be distributed as inheritance. Simply answer a few questions and email your result by completing your details below and clicking send.

 

Relevant Legislation – Intestacy Rules
SUCCESSION ACT 1981 (QLD) Sections 34 – 39D (Austl.) (accessed 18/10/2018)

 

Please note this is only a guide and is not legal advice as per our Terms & Conditions, which is available here.

 

Questions:

13.5 Find all Beneficiaries

It is important to make sure you have identified all eligible Beneficiaries early on, as you will need to understand who to communicate with throughout the process and work with them on some decisions and other administration aspects.


Some situations in which you may require you to look further than the immediate family or beyond the Will are:

  • The deceased may have had multiple relationships (married or de-facto) who were previously named in a Will and later removed;
  • The deceased may have a maintenance agreement in place; or
  • The deceased may have also had children with other spouses or partners or children that are unknown to the family.

Under the FAMILY PROVISION ACT 1972 (WA) Section 7 (Austl.) (accessed 17/6/2018), the following persons are eligible Beneficiaries:

  • the spouse or de-facto partner;
  • a person who is receiving or is entitled to receive maintenance from the deceased;
  • a child who is alive or born within 10 months after the deceased person’s death;
  • a grandchild who was being maintained wholly or partly by the deceased;
  • a grandchild who was living with the deceased and whose parent related to the deceased had passed away before the deceased;
  • a grandchild who was born within 10 months after the deceased person’s death and whose parent, related to the deceased, had passed away before the deceased;
  • a stepchild who was being maintained wholly or partly or was entitled to be maintained wholly or partly by the deceased;
  • a stepchild of the deceased, if the deceased received or was entitled to receive property from the estate of a parent of the stepchild and the value of that property is greater than the prescribed amount; and
  • a parent.

Under the SUCCESSION ACT 2006 (NSW) Section 57 (Austl.) (accessed 17/6/2018), the following persons are eligible Beneficiaries:

  • the spouse;
  • the de-facto partner;
  • a child;
  • a former spouse;
  • a person who was or is fully or partly dependent on the deceased person;
  • a grandchild;
  • a person who was at any time a member of the household of the deceased person; and
  • a person in a close personal relationship at the time of death.

Under the BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES REGISTRATION ACT 1995 (NSW) Section 50 (Austl.) (accessed 17/6/2018), an Executor or Administrator can request the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to search if the deceased person had any children. Complete the Section 50 Search Application if you deem this is required.

Under the ADMINISTRATION AND PROBATE ACT 1958 (VIC) Section 90 (Austl.) (accessed 17/6/2018), all eligible parties are listed.

Under the SUCCESSION ACT 1981 (QLD) Section 40, Definitions (Austl.) (accessed 17/6/2018) and SUCCESSION ACT 1981 (QLD) Section 40A, Definitions (Austl.) (accessed 17/6/2018), all eligible parties are listed.

13.6 Meet with all Beneficiaries

Once you have a clear picture of who the Beneficiaries are as per the Will, the intestacy rules in the relevant State/Territory or any other legislation/rules that apply to your situation, you should inform and meet with the Beneficiaries.
If the family and Beneficiaries are generally amicable, then a meeting with all at once may be the easiest option as everyone hears the same information.

 

If some relationships are strained, it may be necessary to hold individual meetings with some Beneficiaries that cannot or would not meet with other Beneficiaries. If this is the case we recommend you hold meetings with Beneficiaries first that you know best to learn about how to best structure the meeting.

 

For such important meetings it will most likely be best if you:

  • Notify each in writing about the death;
  • Inform them that they were identified as a Beneficiary;
  • Request their presence at a meeting at a specified date, time and location;
  • Provide an agenda;
  • Discuss how the home clearance will be organised (see Step 16); and
  • Provide the simplyEstate Beneficiaries Information Leaflet.

Building and maintaining a solid relationship with the Beneficiaries will be greatly valuable as you work through the deceased estate administration.

simplyEstate is here to help.

Contact us via email or book your first free phone appointment.

13.7 Find out About Immediate Needs of Family Members

If the communication and meeting with Beneficiaries identifies financial dependence or other difficulties resulting from the death that you didn’t know of before, you should refer to Step 9 – Request Allowances & Government Support again to see whether or not there may be support available for that individual.

13.8 Contest a Will

A relative or person deemed eligible to be a Beneficiary, can contest a Will or Intestate estate by lodging a claim within a certain period (mostly six months) of the date the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration or the date of death.
If the claimant is unable to do so within this timeframe, some state legislation allows to apply for an extension so long as the application is lodged within that specified period.

 

This is something you should keep in mind and will be discussed again towards the end before you finalise and distribute the estate in Step 34.

13.9 Actions and Decisions to Complete Step

If you would like a little help from us at simplyEstate with this Step, you can email us or book your first free phone appointment. If you would like specialist help, get in touch with one of our Specialist Partners listed in the yellow section to the right or below and see how they can help.

 

If you have decided to tackle this Step yourself after reading and understanding this Step, you may want to:

  1. Review the Will (if applicable) to identify and agree who the named Beneficiaries of the estate are;
  2. Seek legal advice where multiple Wills are available naming different Beneficiaries who may make a claim;
  3. Identify the Beneficiaries using the simplyEstate Intestate Beneficiary Assessment Tool in Step 13.4 above;
  4. Set-up a meeting with all Beneficiaries to inform them of the estate administration process and provide them with the simplyEstate Beneficiaries Information Leaflet;
  5. Discuss and agree how the clearance of the home or residence of the deceased person will be managed and if items specifically listed in the Will can be collected;
  6. Identify if any of the Beneficiaries were financially dependent on the deceased person and see what allowances or support is available as outlined in Step 9; and
  7. Provide the Beneficiaries with the necessary confidence that you as the Executor or Administrator will act in the best interest of the deceased estate, as per the Will and as per the law in the relevant State/Territory.

Once you have completed all the necessary actions and decisions, you can move on to the next Step by clicking below or save progress at the top.

Do you need specialist help?

simplyEstate has partnered with select Specialists across Australia to assist you.

 

You can click on your State/Territory to find a suitable Specialist and get in touch to discuss how they can help you.

Estate Lawyers

 

simplyEstate Specialist Partner Listings coming soon in 2019.

 

simplyEstate Specialist Partner Listings coming soon in 2019.

 

simplyEstate Specialist Partner Listings coming soon in 2019.

 

simplyEstate Specialist Partner Listings coming soon in 2019.

Get in Touch

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If you would like to speak to us about this Step, discuss how to engage a Specialist Partner or need support, book a Phone Appointment now.

simplyEstate is here to help.

 

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