Who can represent a deceased estate

How to become a legal personal representative (LPR), get a grant of probate and appoint a tax agent.

Do you have authority to deal with us?

To have full authority to manage the deceased’s tax affairs, you must be their legal personal representative (LPR).

If you are not the LPR, we can still help you but there are legal restrictions on the information and funds we can release to you.

Who can be a legal personal representative (LPR)?

A LPR is a person who is legally authorised to represent the:

  • deceased individual
  • deceased estate (if required).

The word ‘legal’ does not mean the person must be a legal practitioner. The LPR is usually the executor named in the will, or an administrator appointed by the court (which can be the next of kin). There can be more than one LPR for an estate.

For tax purposes, to be recognised as the LPR and have unrestricted access to the deceased’s information and assets, you will need:

Notify us that you are managing the estate and provide one of the above documents. We will then list you as an authorised contact for the deceased individual and the deceased estate (where applicable).

The LPR’s responsibilities

The tax-related responsibilities of the LPR include:

If you are not the LPR

If you decide not to apply for probate or letters of administration:

We will help you with the deceased’s tax affairs and add your name to our records. However, as you are not the authorised LPR:

  • there are legal restrictions on the tax and super information we can disclose to you
  • we may not be able to transfer the deceased’s tax refunds or franking credits to you
  • we cannot list you or your representative as an authorised contact for the estate.

What are probate and letters of administration?

A grant of probate:

  • means a supreme court recognises a will as legally valid
  • enables the executor to fully represent the estate and distribute assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

A grant of letters of administration:

  • is used when there is no will or executor
  • is issued by a supreme court to a person (such as the next of kin), who is appointed as the administrator of the estate
  • enables the administrator to represent the estate and distribute assets to the beneficiaries.

The court costs of obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration depend on the state or territory in which the application is lodged. This fee is usually reimbursed from the estate.

Do you need probate or letters of administration?

Inheritance in Australia is governed by state and territory law.

In some states and territories, you may not need probate or letters of administration to manage a small estate.

However, the ATO and many financial institutions may require one of these documents to release information or funds to you. If you lodge a claim for credits owing to the estate, we will assess your situation and let you know if we require a court grant to release the credits.

Find out about wills and probate in your state or territory

Appointing a tax agent, legal practitioner or BAS agent

You can appoint a registered tax agent, legal practitioner or registered BAS agent to help you manage the estate. You should let us know by updating your authorised contact.

  • If you are the authorised LPR, the person you appoint will be authorised to access the deceased’s tax and super information. We will list them as an authorised contact for the deceased individual and the deceased estate (where applicable).
  • If you are not the authorised LPR, you can still appoint someone to help you. We will not record them as an authorised contact on our systems, but we will still help you and your representative where we can within the law.

If the deceased had a tax agent or other representative before they died, and you wish to use the same person, you will need to reappoint them. Their authority to represent the deceased for tax purposes ceased at the time of death.

Australian Taxation Office
(ATO)

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