Protecting assets: An important first step for executors

Most of an executor’s tasks are not urgent.  However, it is important to secure the deceased’s assets as soon as possible after death.

You should take control of all keys, security devices and passwords. If this is not possible, promptly advise those with access that they must consult you first before using or accessing any estate assets.

You must take reasonable steps to protect valuable assets. Make sure the car, house, contents and other valuables are safe.  Check these assets are properly insured – if not, take out new policies. Advise insurance companies of the deceased’s death.

Deal appropriately with animals and perishables.

You should advise relevant banks and other financial institutions of the deceased’s death as soon as possible to guard against unauthorised transactions.

Advise any person who was acting as the deceased’s Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney of the death and collect any relevant documents from them. Powers given under these arrangements cease upon death.

Contact Australia Post and arrange to redirect the deceased’s mail to you. Alternatively, keep an eye on the mailbox.

If the estate includes a business, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

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Our plain-English guide How to manage a deceased estate has practical advice to help you to take charge and finalise the estate.