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Handling the financial matters of someone who has died

Handling the financial matters of someone who has died

Letters of Administration are essential, especially if someone near and dear to you dies without leaving a valid Will. It gives you full legal liberty to take care of the estate of the deceased one. 

If you don’t know what ‘estate’ is, it is everything that a person leaves after they die. Money in the bank or cash can be an estate, along with that, property, assets, shares in any company, money that people owed to the deceased one, personal belongings like a car, etc., count as an estate. If the person who has passed owes someone money, the debt must be paid using the estate.

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Had the departed written a will, all of their assets would be passed down as mentioned in their will, but if they die without leaving behind any will, the assets go to the State, and from there, they have the liberty to pass it down to whoever they want. 

If you want to prevent all of that from happening and take care of the ‘estate,’ you can apply for letters of administration in Victoria. 

An ‘executor’ is someone whose name has been mentioned in the will by the deceased to take care of their estate. They can spend money in the estate in any way they think will suit best for fulfilling the needs of the dead.

On the other hand, an ‘administrator’ deals with the estate when there is no will in place. Administrators have to apply for ‘letters of administration’ before they can handle the estate. The letter of administration is most commonly granted to the spouse, children, next of kin (if there are no children), a Guardian or Trustee (if the next of kin doesn’t apply), or any other person the court thinks is suitable.

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A letter of administration will not be granted if the net worth of the estate is less than a certain amount or if it contains personal possessions, joint bank accounts, jointly owned property, life insurance policies, debts that are higher than assets, or pension benefits.

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Handling the finances of the deceased

First things first, take care of the tax, National Insurance, and benefits of the dead. Chances are, there is tax pending, which you need to pay, or their estate might be ‘owed’ tax that you need to collect. Inform the tax office and the government office that paid benefits to the deceased about their passing away.

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To prevent identity theft, there are some things that you need to do. You must punch a hole in the deceased’s passport and driver’s license, keep the credit card and other sensitive things with you and get paperwork for insurance companies. 

Do not waste time thinking that someone will handle the finances; take responsibility as soon as possible. Don’t be eager to cancel the deceased’s main phone number and credit card right away. 

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You should not take any major financial decision without talking about it with a professional first. They have expertise in the field and can guide you through the entire process and ensure security and safety. 

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Written by Parasteh

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