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In administering and winding up a deceased estate, a legal personal representative may need to dispose of some or all of the assets of the estate. Assets disposed of in this way are subject to the normal rules and any capital gain the legal personal representative makes on the disposal is subject to CGT.
Similarly, it may be necessary for the legal personal representative to acquire an asset (for example, to satisfy a specific legacy made). Any capital gain or capital loss they make on disposal of that asset to the beneficiary is subject to the normal CGT rules.
If a beneficiary sells an asset they have inherited, the normal CGT rules also apply.
If you acquire an asset owned by a deceased person as their legal personal representative or beneficiary you are taken to have acquired the asset on the day the person died. If that was before 20 September 1985, any capital gain or capital loss you make from the asset will be disregarded.
If the deceased person acquired their asset before 20 September 1985, the first element of your cost base or reduced cost base (that is, the amount taken to have been paid for the asset) is the market value of the asset on the day the person died.
If, before they died, a person made a major improvement to a pre-CGT asset on or after 20 September 1985, the improvement is not treated as a separate asset.
The beneficiary or legal personal representative is taken to have acquired the improved asset when the person died. Although the deceased used to treat the asset and the improvement as separate assets, the beneficiary or legal personal representative now treats them as one asset.
If a deceased person acquired their asset on or after 20 September 1985, the first element of your cost base or reduced cost base is taken to be the cost base (indexed where relevant) or reduced cost base of the asset on the day the person died.
If the deceased's cost base includes an amount of indexation, you may later have to recalculate the first element of your cost base to exclude that amount if you want to apply the CGT discount to your capital gain.
As a beneficiary, you can include in your cost base (or reduced cost base) any expenditure the legal personal representative (for example, the executor) would have been able to include in their cost base if they had sold the asset instead of distributing it to you. You can include the expenditure on the date they incurred it.
For example, if an executor incurs costs in confirming the validity of the deceased's will, these costs form part of the cost base of the estate's assets.
Last modified: 06 Oct 2009QC 27417