Helping you through life’s changes

The death of a loved one is hard enough, so making final arrangements for their banking and estate should be straightforward and easy to understand.

This information is designed to guide you through the process for handling a deceased estate, how we can help, what you will need and where to start.

Where to start

1. Notify CUA

When a loved one passes, it’s important that you notify CUA to ensure their accounts and assets are protected. Call 133 282, visit a CUA branch, or notify us in writing.

If your loved one had a solicitor, you should also contact them right away. Once this is done, you can take your time and complete the next steps when you're ready.

2. Determine next steps

Contact our Deceased Estates Team on 133 282 or email deceased.estates@cua.com.au, and they will explain the next steps for resolving the estate.

3. Finalise the estate

Certain documents will be required to finalise the estate process, and the Deceased Estates Team will advise you on these.

What you'll need

If the estate value is less than $15,000

If there is a Will, you'll need to supply:

  • Certified copy of Death Certificate
  • Signed payee instructions
  • Certification of Identity Form for each executor/administrator that is not a CUA Member

If there is no Will or the Will is invalid, you'll need to supply:

  • Certified copy of Letters of Administration when obtained
  • Certified copy of Death Certificate
  • Signed payee instructions
  • Certification of Identity Form for each executor/administrator that is not a CUA Member
If the estate value is more than $15,000

If there is a Will, you'll need to supply:

  • Grant of Probate with the Will annexed
  • Certified copy of Death Certificate
  • Signed payee instructions
  • Certification of Identity Form for each executor/administrator that is not a CUA Member

If there is no Will or the Will is invalid, you'll need to supply:

  • Certified copy of Letters of Administration when obtained
  • Certified copy of Death Certificate
  • Signed payee instructions
  • Certification of Identity Form for each executor/administrator that is not a CUA Member
  • Certification of Identity Form for executor/administrator as legal representative of the estate
Useful documents

Deceased Member Advice Form
Use this form to notify CUA of the death of a loved one who is a CUA Member.

Membership Application – Deceased Estate
Use this form to open a membership to hold deceased estate funds prior to finalisation of the estate.

Certificate of Identification
If you are applying for a CUA membership, use this form when you need to collect certified copies of original documents and ID. This form is completed by the person certifying the documents and information about who can certify your documents is listed on the form.

Helpful definitions

Handling a deceased estate can sometimes be overwhelming and the terminology used for an estate may be confusing.

Here are some common terms used during the Deceased Estate process at CUA.

Administration of a Deceased Estate
This means following the terms of a deceased person’s Will to ensure their intentions are followed in finalising their estate. This is a regulated process and can include transferring assets or gifts to beneficiaries, converting assets into cash, closing bank accounts, transferring shares, selling a house, transferring interest in business etc. The administration of a deceased estate is governed by legislation in each state.
Beneficiary
This is the person (or people) named in the Will who will receive assets from the deceased estate. If the deceased person did not leave a Will, the beneficiaries may be determined in accordance with the legislation in the relevant state.
Bequest
This is the process of gifting personal property through a Will.
Codicil
Any document which has the legal effect of adding to or amending the terms of an existing Will.
Enduring Power of Attorney
This is a legal document which appoints a trusted person (or people) to deal with or manage financial and health decisions on your behalf. Importantly, an Enduring Power of Attorney automatically ceases on the passing of the principal.
Executor
This is the person, institution or entity appointed to administer the deceased estate. The administration of the estate may be complex, and the executor may need to seek legal advice or other assistance with carrying out the administration.
Grant of Probate (also known as “Probate”)
This is a certificate issued by a court which authorises the executor to carry out the administration of the estate of the deceased person. Probate confirms the Last Will of the deceased person, and grants the executor the right to administer the estate of the deceased person.  CUA may require a Probate be produced in order to close the deceased’s bank accounts and release the funds held in those accounts in accordance with the executor’s instructions.
Guardian
This is a person who you appoint to be legally responsible and care for any children. The guardian will take control of the important decisions about a child’s welfare including who will care for them, their education and where they will live. You are also able to appoint a guardian for a person who is incapable of making decision in regards to their living arrangements and personal health due to a mental incapacity/disability. An application is made to a court in the relevant state for a guardianship order to be made.
Intestacy
This term applies when a person dies without executing a Will. In this situation, the law determines who receives the assets of the deceased person’s estate.
Joint Tenancy
This describes a form of ownership. If you own property as a joint tenant with another person, you own the property equally with the other person. When a joint tenant dies, that person’s share of the property passes to the surviving joint tenant.
Letters of Administration
Letters of Administration are obtained where a person dies intestate. The legislation in each state determines who the person (or people) are who can administer the estate of the deceased person. That person then applies for a document called “Letters of Administration” through the relevant state court.
Residue
This is the portion of the estate of a deceased person which remains after payment of all just debts, funeral and other expenses and provision is made for any specific gifts by the Will. In other words, the residue of an estate is all the assets which are left over.
Tenants in Common
This also describes a form of ownership. Unlike joint tenancy however, when a person owns property as a tenant in common, that person’s interest does not automatically transfer to the other property owner. If you have a Will, your interest in the property is transferred pursuant to the instructions in your Will.
Testamentary Trust
A testamentary trust is a trust created by a Will and arises on the death of the testator.
Testator/Testatrix
This is the person who has made and validly executed a Will or Testamentary Trust.

More support resources

Australian Death Notification Service

Notify multiple organisations such as phone, internet and energy companies that someone has died and ask for their accounts to be closed or transferred.

Births, deaths and marriages registry

Apply for a death certificate, change your name or search your family history.

Provides support and education for dealing with grief and bereavement.

1300 664 786

Advise the ATO and give them the name of the executor or administrator.

13 28 65