5 Legal Processes After Death You Should Know

5 Legal Processes After Death You Should Know

When a person dies, families and friends are left dealing with enormous amounts of grief and distress. On top of the grieving process, the responsibilities and important decisions are left to be made by the family.

To avoid getting caught up in messy legal disputes and confusion, it’s beneficial to inform yourself on some of the legalities involved with the passing of an individual. So I’ve spent some time and put together some brief information on wills, funeral arrangements, organ donations, death registration and taxes.



What is a will and who can write one?

Fortunately, most people are aware that the will is one of the most important and foremost legal processes after death you should know. However, if you're not so sure then a will can be explained as a written legal document stating how the will maker wants their property and possessions divided and distributed after death.

Commonly specified in a will is the items you wish to give certain people, the person you trust to carry out the instructions in the will (the executor) and any other instructions you may have following your death such as the decision to be buried or cremated.

Wills can be made by anyone with sound mind and memory. It is recommended to make your will whilst in good health as sufficient capacity to make a will can be disputed if you are extremely old or sick.

An individual can write a will themselves, however it must be signed and witnessed formally otherwise considered invalid. This can be done by a lawyer, NSW Trustee or private Trustee. It is advised that the will is prepared by an expert supported by accountants, taxation, investment and legal professionals to avoid errors.


Things to consider when writing a will

  • What’s in your estate? Assets like your house, land, car, bank accounts and jewellery count.
  • Beneficiaries - who do you want to leave your will to?
  • Executor - Appoint someone you trust as they will be responsible for seeing that your wishes in the will are carried out
  • Appoint a guardian of infant children
  • Deciding on funeral arrangements - burial or cremation?

For further information on the division of belongings read how you can share belongings fairly.

It's important to consider what can happen if a will is not in place. An example of the situation going awry can be seen in this case where the family is disputing the division of assets.


Funeral arrangements

When a person dies it is their next of kin who has certain responsibilities to fulfill. Although there is no legal obligation to arrange a funeral they are required to provide personal details of the deceased so that the death can be registered.

The executor allocated in the will has the responsibility to organise the funeral and has a right to the possession and custody of the body until it is buried or cremated. If there isn’t a will or an executor has not been appointed, the next of kin is responsible for the body. If the next of kin doesn't want to be involved, the funeral may be arranged through a government contractor.

Before you sign up to a prepaid funeral plan, learn your rights.


Organ donation

Many people specify to become organ donors as a way of potentially saving the life of someone in desperate need of an organ or to contribute to medical research. If the person dies in hospital and certain conditions are met, their family may be approached for organ donation consent. If the deceased has not specified their views on organ donation the decision can be left to next of kin.

To make it understood that you do in fact want to donate your organs, there are steps that can be taken in your lifetime to ensure your wishes are fulfilled after death. Donor consent can be registered with the Australian Organ Donor Register.


Death registration

When someone dies a medical certificate or cause of death needs to be issued by a doctor and should be sent to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriage. This can be done either by the doctor, the executor or funeral director.

Find out about what you need to submit to the Registry of Births, Death and Marriage. 



Income Tax

If the deceased was receiving a taxable income at the time of death the estimated tax debt or credit should be included in their list of assets and liabilities and a tax return should be lodged with The Australian Taxation Office.

Note: If the administration of an estate continues over a long period of time the estate itself may become a tax paying entity.


Tax exempt bodies

People often leave all or part of their estate to a tax exempt body. They include:

  • Public hospitals
  • Religious and Charitable institutions
  • Superannuation funds
  • Approved deposit funds

Hopefully you’ve found this brief guide helpful. Of course, if you have any questions then feel free to reach out to myself or any of the ladies at Lady Anne Funerals.


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Our compassionate all-female team are dedicated to supporting families in their times of need. We arrange beautiful personalised funeral services in the Ryde area.



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Lady Anne Funerals is here to support and assist your family through what can be a difficult time, with a ladies touch. 

We are available to discuss a range of services to support your family, including: 

  • Personalised memorial services
  • Cremation and burial services
  • Religious services catering to all faith's
  • No service, no attendance 

Please get in touch - night or day - via the form or you can call us on the number below.

Phone: 1300 74 00 74

904 Victoria Road, West Ryde 2114

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Some of the families we've helped

“I just wanted to send you our sincerest thanks for everything you and your incredible team did for us in making the most perfect day, celebration and farewell of our beautiful Harper.

I have given a lot of thought to your business and the industry and I think it is perhaps the most important business for families to get it right when it comes to planning a funeral which may be sudden or may be a long time in the making. Either way, when one is faced with the unfortunate situation of needing to arrange a funeral, only then do you realise the importance of getting it right.

We experienced first hand the polar opposites the industry offers. It is not just about the cars, the booklets, the music and all the things that make up the day - its about the service, the care and most importantly it’s about the people.

From our very first conversation we could sense your genuine care to our situation and your attention to detail was obvious - this was very different to the previous conversations we had with others we had been referred to. Those other companies wanted to commence meetings with the paperwork side of things upfront which is a very confronting thing to do just days after losing your loved one - and when one of the others that I am referencing couldn’t even refernece our daughters name as our meeting started - we were horrified of how poor the service of care could be.

This is where you and your team shine. After feeling very lost in our search to secure the perfect funeral director to create the perfect day, my wife all of a sudden recalled you standing out the front of your office each morning watering the surrounding gardens to ensure a beautiful front of house. Well, I can assure you, it is not just the front of house that is beautiful - its the entire package that is beautiful.

Your manner, your direction and your expertise is evident from the get go. Nothing is too hard for you or your amazing team. The personal care made us feel like we were the only funeral you were working with at the time, and that’s exactly how it should be.

The finer detail, such as driving past our house so our daughter could go past our house one last time, then leaving the most beautiful flowers on our doorstep, to bumping into us at the Church because you were just doing your own research to make sure the day was seamless. This combined with your recommendations from every aspect as everything was very foreign to us, you were able to guide us to achieve the most beautiful farewell.

The day itself was simply perfect. Not once did we have a concern. The car was shining, your team dressed beautifully, cold water provided for us, directions for our guests, directions for us. Everyone commented on how amazing the day was and how incredibly your team were. Seamless is the only word I can use. It doesn’t stop here.

Your personal care and guidance then allowed us a more intimate farewell the following day (we are so grateful for for this recommendation and possibly would have missed this special day if you had suggested it was the best idea). Again, you and your team made us feel like you had nowhere else to be, and no one else to help. Just us. The setting was beautiful, the celebrant (that you arrange and recommend) is a delightful, your team make this day even more special than the last.

This is something we never want to go through again but there will be so many others, that like us, have no idea where to start to look for the right funeral director for their own special day. All I can say is that I hope that they appoint Lady Anne Funerals. We learnt a lot quickly and it is again a business many do not ever consider needing but without question one of the most important businesses to select the right person and the right team.

I welcome any of your future potential clients to contact me if they wish to discuss our experience with the amazing Lady Anne team. We thank you for giving our beautiful baby the most incredible farewell that was exactly how we imagined it, you just made it happen.”

Lee Dowdall

“We wish to thank you for having helped us put together a beautiful farewell for our mother, one which she would have been delighted with.

It was a difficult day and it would have been worse without your synchronised, seamless and consistent presence as well as attention to detail.

We value your candour as the people you are and the very sensitive manner in which you conducted the service.

Thanking you from the bottom of our hearts,

The Pastore Family
Karen has supported my Mum and me through the most difficult week of our lives as we not only planned a funeral, but interred my Dad to his new home. I will be forever grateful to Karen for her ongoing support, guidance, kindness, empathy and friendship over the last week. Karen has now become part of our extended circle of close family friends.
Daughter of the late Sveta Dordevich
Lady Anne Funerals has the compassion, understanding and empathy that many of the larger funeral homes do not possess. My aunts funeral was dignified and classy everything she deserved. I would highly recommend Lady Anne (and have) as they go above and beyond.
Joanne Marks
I am overwhelmed with the feedback on how beautiful it all was from all who attended. You and the other ladies were wonderful, looked so elegant, and made the day so very special for all who loved Paul.
Barbara Sommerville Enright
Karen and her staff treated us with the utmost respect we could not have been in better hands during this difficult time. My mum had organised her funeral with a prepaid funeral plan which she had purchased from Karen almost ten years ago this also made this upsetting time much easier to deal with and she got all the things that she wished for.
Malcolm Ellis
On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Lady Anne Funerals for a beautiful service yesterday for my aunt Dot. All who attended commented on how lovely the service was & the professionalism of all the staff. Thanks again very much for helping making a sad day one of celebration of Dot’s life.
Judith Neville

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