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  • Notifying us of a death and who will manage the estate

    When someone dies, a relative or legal personal representative (LPR) should notify us, and tell us who will be managing the estate.

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    Pausing correspondence while you prepare

    To officially notify us of a person's death you will need the death certificate and may need other supporting documents.

    If you do not yet have the supporting documents, you can phone us to let us know unofficially that the person has died.

    We will pause the deceased's tax correspondence until you are ready.

    Who can notify us

    Official notification of death

    Usually the person who officially notifies us of a person's death is a:

    • relative
    • executor or administrator of the estate
    • legal practitioner, BAS agent or tax agent who previously represented the deceased person, or has been appointed by the executor or administrator.

    Notification of who will manage the estate

    Only the executor or administrator of the estate can nominate as the person who will manage the estate.

    They can appoint a legal practitioner, tax agent or BAS agent to help them.

    How to notify us

    You use the same form to both officially notify us of a person's death and notify us of who will manage the estate.

    You can notify us by:

    It takes up to 28 days to update the deceased person's records after we receive your notification.

    Supporting documents

    Death certificate

    You will need the death certificate to officially notify us of a person's death.

    If you do not have one, contact the Births, Deaths and Marriages registry in your state or territory, who can issue one.

    Probate or letters of administration

    If you have one of the following court-issued documents, bring it with you to the interview or include a certified copy with your mailed notification:

    We will record you as the LPR and enter your name in our records as the authorised contact for the deceased estate.

    If you submitted an official notification of death before you had the grant of probate or letters of administration, you can submit a new copy of the notification form to provide these documents to us. We will then list you as the LPR in our records.

    If you have a digital grant of probate or letters of administration, you will need to print it and have the printed version certified.

    Will

    You only need to include the will if you have decided not to apply for probate or letters of administration.

    We can:

    • use the will to verify your role in the estate's tax affairs
    • add your name to our records, with a note that you are managing the estate's tax affairs.

    However, we cannot record you as the LPR if you do not have probate or letters of administration. This means there are legal restrictions on the information and funds we can release to you.

    Example: notifying the ATO and being authorised as the LPR

    Maree died on 4 March 2021 in Melbourne. At the time of her death Maree's assets included her main residence, a rental property and shares.

    Maree's last will and testament names her son, Zach, as the executor of her estate.

    Pausing tax correspondence

    A few weeks after Maree's death, a letter from the ATO arrives at her address. Zach phones the ATO and asks to temporarily pause her tax correspondence.

    Grant of probate

    Zach has Maree's financial records, but the information is incomplete. Also, he knows that Maree's estate will continue to receive income from the shares and rental property.

    Zach decides to apply for a grant of probate so he can be authorised by the ATO as the LPR. This will give him full authority to deal with Maree's tax affairs, including unrestricted access to the tax information and funds held by the ATO.

    Zach applies to the Supreme Court of Victoria for a grant of probate.

    • The court issues the grant of probate on 1 June 2021. This validates the will in which Zach is named as executor.
    • The grant is stored electronically on the court's system. Zach has access to the electronic version.

    Online notification

    On 2 June 2021, Zach completes an ATO online notification of Maree's death. Shortly after, he attends an interview at an Australia Post outlet, where he provides:

    • the original death certificate
    • a printed and certified copy of the digital grant of probate.

    Authorisation as LPR

    On 30 June 2021, the ATO:

    • advises Zach that he has been recorded as the LPR
    • provides Zach with a data package of Maree's tax and super information for the past 3 income years
    • resumes sending tax correspondence related to Maree's estate, with Zach as the contact.
    End of example

    Notifying a super fund

    You should contact the deceased person's super fund (or funds) to let them know the person has died and discuss the release of their super.

    Do this if you are:

    We can provide information about super funds to the LPR or their representative. If there is no LPR, we may inform the funds. They will then determine whether to contact the family.

    Last modified: 22 Dec 2021QC 49903