Deceased estates

The management and administration of a deceased estate can be a tiresome and challenging task. The tax team at Westcourt have deep experience in the unique tax benefits of deceased estates, preparing deceased estate tax returns. Our senior team is commonly engaged to act as executors for our clients, given our intimate knowledge of the financial affairs of a deceased estate.

At its simplest, the tax return for a deceased estate becomes a trust tax return – and the preparation of the trust tax return can look daunting for most. The deceased (settlor) contributes property (estate) to a trustee (executor) to look after the property on behalf of another. And our knowledge of trust tax law will allow for your deceased estate to be managed properly and capitalise on the tax opportunities that rest within the estate.

For global families, the management of a deceased estate can become more complex. There are often no family members located in Australia to manage the estate. The deceased estate can have international and offshore assets than can fall within the Australian tax regime of the deceased estate. Our global accounting network through GGI is critical in helping these families. The tax profile of estate assets moving offshore can differ depending on how the assets are transferred and the tax profile of the asset moved.

Further, we actively work with global families to ensure that negative tax consequences on death are avoided. This typically would involve structuring options to ensure that trusts and superannuation funds do not become non-resident on death, as a change in tax residency for a deceased estate can create a significant tax burden.

For deceased estates with real estate holdings, we are skilled in dealing with the ATO on matters like extending the main residence exemption and capital gains tax positions for the deceased estate, including historical cost base positions or GST profile of the assets sold (including margin scheme eligibility).

In some instances, the deceased estate will have business interests, and the deceased will be a director of many companies. And our Westcourt CFO service can allow us to walk in and continue the business operation through payment of wages and discussions with staff.

Suppose the deceased estate was a member of a self-managed superannuation fund. In that case, we can help manage the reversionary pension, process death benefit termination payments, and transfer balance accounts reports (TBAR) for those funds. We can also assist with closing the self-managed superannuation fund with the ATO and liaison with your SMSF auditor’s final SMSF tax return.

The management and administration of a deceased estate also require a deep knowledge of the financial position. And our single focus on family businesses, together with our role as the primary trusted advisor for a family, allows us to be the best-placed person to act as the executor of your estate. And because we are a single focussed firm, we will happily collaborate with your lawyers and investment advisors to give you the best outcome rather than being concerned about cross-selling services to your family in a moment of grief.

Other Succession and Estates Services

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