Managing a deceased estate

If you’ve recently suffered a loss, we understand you’ve got a lot to deal with right now – especially if you’re responsible for handling the financial side of things. We’ve prepared a guide to help you manage a deceased estate, so you have the support you need every step of the way.

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What you need to do

1. Let us know

Get in touch after your loved one has passed away. You can call us or speak to us in a branch – whichever is most comfortable for you.

  • Talk to our Deceased Estate Support Team on 1300 734 203 between 8am and 4.30pm AWST, Monday to Friday
  • Call our contact centre outside these times on 13 17 19
  • Visit one of our branches.

2. Verify your identity

When you speak to us, we'll need to verify your identity. This is because we can only share account information with the estate executor, administrator or, if there’s no executor or administrator, the next of kin.

Here is the list of ID we’ll accept for this process.

3. Gather required documents

We'll let you know when we chat what documents you'll need to give us. They'll likely include:

  • A death certificate – this should be the full death certificate. A medical certificate citing cause of death won't be enough as it doesn't have all the detail we need.
  • A will or grant of probate – if the deceased doesn't have a will, we recommend you seek independent legal advice.

These documents will help us identify the accounts held by the person who passed away and confirm their identity. They will need to be filled out by the estate executor, administrator or next-of-kin.

If you need help completing the paperwork, please contact our Deceased Estate Support Team on 1300 734 203 between 8am and 4.30pm AWST, Monday to Friday.

Certifying and witnessing documents

Each state is different when it comes to their terms for certifying and witnessing documents. Contact the Law Society in your state for more information.

Not sure what these documents are? Our deceased estate glossary might help.

4. Submit documents

You can drop your documents off at a branch or post them to:

Deceased Estate Support Team
PO Box E237
Perth WA 6841

If you come into a branch, we’ll certify the documents and give them back to you straight away. If you’re posting documents, make sure to send certified copies only – not the originals.

5. Organise funeral expenses

If you need money for funeral expenses (or other related costs and bills) while managing the estate, let us know. If there’s enough funds in the estate we might be able to reimburse you.

We can release money to cover costs if you’re the executor or administrator of the estate, if you’ve organised the funeral, or if you’ve already paid for the funeral yourself.

To arrange this, simply visit a branch and bring the tax invoice if you haven’t paid for the funeral yet, or a receipt if you have.

If you’re the executor and you’d like to open an Estate of the Late account, contact us and we can let you know what’s needed.

6. Manage non-Bankwest accounts

If your loved one had accounts with other Commonwealth Bank Group companies or products distributed by the Commonwealth Bank Group listed below, please let them know, as each company has its own estate settlement process.

You can contact them directly on the following numbers:

  • CommBank – 1800 686 153
  • CommSec – 13 15 19 or +61 2 9115 1417 from overseas, or visit their FAQ’s
  • Home or Car Insurance provided by Hollard, distributed by Commonwealth Bank of Australia – 13 24 23
  • Commonwealth Bank Personal and Business Accounts – 1800 686 153 or contact the Relationship Manager directly
  • Commonwealth Private Banking – 1300 362 081 or contact the Private Banker directly
  • Commonwealth Financial Planner – Contact the Planner directly
  • Colonial First State – 13 13 36

If your loved one was an employee of Commonwealth Bank Group, including Bankwest, they might have superannuation with our employee superannuation fund, Commonwealth Bank Group Super. If so, contact the fund to let them know.

What will happen


As soon as you let us know a loved one has passed away, we’ll act to keep their accounts safe. To prevent unauthorised people from accessing them, we won’t allow any debits or transfers from them.

Most regular payments (like direct debits and recurring payments) will stop, but some might continue. You can ask us for list of regular payments on your loved one’s accounts.

There’s usually no change to how joint accounts operate. We can change the name on the account depending on the nature and terms and conditions of it – just let us know.

To check on progress at any time, you can call our Deceased Estate Support Team on 1300 734 203 or email

Credit cards

If the deceased was the primary cardholder, their estate is liable for their credit card debt. This debt will remain owing until the outstanding amount on the card is paid.

Any credit cards held in the deceased’s name will be cancelled. If you’re an additional card holder, your card will be cancelled too and you’ll have to reapply for a credit card in your own name. If the cancellation of the account puts you under financial stress, we can help – just call our Financial Assist team on 1300 769 173.

Keep an eye on statements after the card is cancelled to see if there’s still any payment debits. Just ask us for a copy of the statements, or for a list of the debits. You might need to get in touch with the service provider if you see anything being charged to the card.


We’ll stop all access and activity to home loans and personal loans where the deceased person is the only borrower. We recommend you seek legal advice before making any voluntary repayments during this time.

Unless you're a joint account holder or guarantor, you won't be responsible for the debts of the deceased's estate.

If you’re the joint account holder, you’ll need to continue making repayments. Unless you plan to sell the property or pay off the loan using the deceased person’s super or insurance, we might be able to help transfer the Certificate of Title to the surviving account holder(s).

Home and personal loans stay in the joint names until changed to the surviving borrower’s name, or in the case of a home loan, until the property is sold.

If you wanted to change a home loan to be in the surviving borrower's name only, then a new loan would be required and we would assess this option according to our usual procedure.

If you’re struggling to make repayments on your own, we can help you – just call our Financial Assist team on 1300 769 173.


You may be able to arrange for the deceased's bills to be paid from their account. Usually, only bills incurred by the deceased before their death will be considered for payment, apart from funeral expenses.

You may need to complete the Claim for Assets Held on Behalf of a Deceased Customer form for payment requests to be considered and arranged.

Note that payment requests may be declined. To discuss your individual circumstances, you can call us on 13 17 19 or seek independent legal advice.

Business accounts, loans and facilities

Business accounts, loans or facilities might be stopped to prevent any debits to the account, depending on whether the business can continue to trade. This means cheques made from the stopped account will be returned unpaid.

Debit or credit cards linked to the account will be stopped to prevent unauthorised access. This means no one will be able to use cards linked to the account. Regular payments (like direct debits and recurring payments) might also stop.

If you need us to keep making business payments, like wages or bills, let us know straight away. Send us any invoices or bills the business owes so we can assess the requests. We’ll let you know if we can pay them within seven days.

Our Deceased Estate Support team can help you manage any business accounts or facilities your loved one or business partner had with us – just call us. If the deceased had a relationship manager, contact them to discuss how the accounts will now be managed.

If you’re having trouble making repayments on joint business loans, call us on 13 7000 and we’ll work with you to find a solution.

The estate

Once we’ve received everything we need, we’ll settle the estate. This means we’ll release the money and assets.

We'll pay all funds held in the account at the time of finalisation, plus accrued but unpaid interest, minus any applicable fees.

If the estate is insolvent (has more debts than assets or funds), the executor/administrator of the estate should call us on 13 17 19 for further information. Seeking independent legal advice is also recommended.

If the estate holds assets in more than one state or territory, we recommend you seek legal advice. Your legal representative is the best person to help with this.

Generally, you won't need to pay any fees relating to bank cheques when finalising the estate, but some fees may apply where large numbers of cheques are requested.

Frequently asked questions

A deceased estate is all the property (including homes, business assets, funds etc.) belonging to a person who has passed away.

This depends on a number of factors, like the complexity of the estate and what documents are required to settle the estate. If you want to get a better idea of this based on your specific circumstances, our Deceased Estate Support Team may be able to help.

You can find more information on managing tax for deceased estates on the Australian Taxation Office website.

No. They should be banked into an account opened in the name of the estate. If you need to open an account in the name of the estate get in touch and we'll let you know what you'll need.

You’ll need to let us know, and we’ll go through the next steps. You can give us a call on 13 17 19 or call our Deceased Estates team directly on 1300 734 203.

If you’re having trouble making repayments on a loan or struggling financially, please contact us so we can help find a solution for your financial hardship.

No. A power of attorney is a formal document where a person (the principal or donor) authorises another person (the attorney or donee) to represent them or act on their behalf.

The legal authority under the Power of Attorney ends once the person dies. We’ll only be able to share account information with the estate executor, administrator, or next of kin.

Requirements vary between estates, and each case is assessed separately. To discuss your individual circumstances, please call us on 13 17 19. Alternatively, you may seek independent legal advice.

A Grant of Probate is a document issued by the Supreme Court in the state or territory where the assets are held. It confirms that a Will is valid and gives the executors the authority to act.

If there’s no Will, you can apply to the Supreme Court for Letters of Administration. You might need to provide us with Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration depending on the value of the estate. We’ll let you know if you do.

If you need more information, we recommend you seek legal advice.

An Estate of the Late account works like a normal transaction account. It allows only the executor, administrator or next of kin to transact on it and to distribute money and deposit cheques made out to the estate.

We don’t need an Estate of the Late account to release funds, but it might be needed for depositing cheques made out to the estate and can be a handy way to access and distribute the money.

This is a matter for the executor, administrator or legal representative to determine.

Your nearest branch can guide you through what accounts are available and what’s needed to open an account for the estate.

Sorting out bills and insurance

As well as handling accounts and finances, you may need to make alternative arrangements for bills and insurance policies in the deceased's name. Here are some common ones you may need to think about:


  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Telephone
  • Mobile phone
  • Internet
  • Council Rates
  • Water Rates
  • Nursing home fees
  • Medical expenses

Insurance policies

  • Funeral policy
  • Life insurance
  • Home/Contents insurance
  • Credit card insurance
  • Personal loan insurance
  • Income protection insurance
  • Motor vehicle insurance
  • Business insurance

Resources and support


In an emergency, call:

  • 000 for police, fire department or an ambulance
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 for emergency crisis support.

Grief and Bereavement

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement provides education, counselling, research and clinical services for those experiencing grief and bereavement. You can call them on 1300 664 786.

Births, Deaths and Marriages

It is the responsibility of each state in Australia to provide Death Certificates. This is where you can get more information on the process in your state.

Human Services

The Department of Human Services offers helpful information about death certificates, funeral organisation and government assistance. For more information, you can visit their website or go to a service centre.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

You might need to lodge a final tax return on behalf of the deceased. You can find out more information on the ATO website.

Australian Funeral Directors Association

The Australian Funeral Directors Association (AFDA) may be able to plan a funeral or they can point you in the direction of a funeral director.

Legal advice

To find a lawyer, contact the Law Society in your state or territory:

Supreme Court

For Probate and Letters of Administration enquiries, contact the Supreme Court in your state or territory:

About this article

We take care of all the BS (bank stuff) so you can access the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. When we write a guide or article, we take steps to make sure the information is relevant, accurate and most of all, helpful.

Keep reading

We’ve explained some common terms used when managing a deceased estate.

Things can arise in life that make dealing with our finances feel overwhelming. We’re here to help.

Need more help?

Deceased Estates Support Team is here for you to call 8am - 4:30pm AWST, Monday to Friday.

Outside these hours, here's how you can reach out.

The advice on this page has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should, before acting on this advice, consider its appropriateness to your personal circumstances.