Following a death
When someone dies in Australia, a doctor must sign a certificate that confirms the death. No funeral arrangements can be made until this certificate has been issued.
Funerals in Australia can be expensive and can cost between $4,000 to $15,000. Sometimes insurance policies may help pay funeral and other expenses following a death. Sometimes the person who died may have made their own arrangements to pay for their funeral, or have expressed their preferences in their Will.
A Will is a written legal document that states how the deceased person’s belongings are to be distributed after their death, who will take care of their children, and other instructions such as gifts to charities and organ donation. To be legal, a Will must be witnessed by two people who do not benefit from the Will. The Will also generally appoints an Executor.
The Executor of the Will is responsible for distributing the person’s assets to the people named in the Will, managing tax affairs for the deceased person’s estate and ensuring the instructions in the Will are carried out. Each State and Territory has a Public Trustee who can act as an Executor (generally for a fee).
If the person has not left a Will, the estate is shared under a formula set by law. If there are no close relatives the estate could be paid to a state or territory government.
There is help available to deal with grief and the loss of a loved one.
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