November 2

Tips and Traps for Administering an Estate

What you need to know when Administering an Estate.  

Common Problems with Estate Administration


Issue: Selling or Transferring shares after the ex-dividend or ex-entitlement date

Closing bank accounts before dividends are paid. Often a dividend statement will be received, however this is not reconciled with the bank account as being received.

What should you do in this scenario?

  • Advise broker or share registry of new bank details
  • Claim the funds from the share registry by advising new bank details [Form]
  • Check Unclaimed Money [Link]

Receiving a small number of shares via a Dividend Re-investment Plan (DRP) after shares have been either sold or transferred to beneficiaries

  • Use the same process to Sell or Transfer
  • Switch off DRP participation


Issue: Companies may trade “ex-entitlement” to a company restructure, capital raising, or other entitlement.

Capital raising:

  • Companies often announce an entitlement to participate in a capital raising.  This may require consideration from the shareholder (or Executor) to participate or not.  Examples include Share Purchase Plans (SPP) or Rights issue.  How can an Estate take up, or sell the entitlement?  Where is the paperwork?

Company restructure:

  • This may see a share consolidation or share split - changing the number of shares held.

Company Demerger:

  • A company may spin-off a subsidiary by way of entitlement (eg. Woolworths/Endeavour Group).  This leads to new holdings which need to be administered, bank accounts and Tax File Numbers provided.

Company Takeovers:

  • An increasing number of takeovers occur via a Scheme of Arrangement (Court ordered takeover created by a shareholder vote).  This leads to payment being made to shareholders for their shares, and often via cheques being mailed to the Registered Address.
Initial 'Things to Do' Checklist
  • Locate all share holdings, and their registration details – including the registered address and (Security Reference Number – SRN, or Holder Identification Number – HIN).
  • Identify relevant brokers, share registries and bank accounts associated with the holdings
How can you find all the holdings, and their registration details?

  • Update the registered address for all holdings (to the Executor, or Solicitor) – through the broker or share registry
  • Update the email address with share registries for dividend advice, statements – or change to post.
  • Update the banking details for dividends to be paid into, and for brokers to settle transactions
  • Update the list of authorised signatories (eg. Executor/s) to deal with matters related to the deceased – with brokers/financial advisers and banks
  • Provide certified copy of Probate to brokers, banks, and share registries (if Issuer Sponsored holdings) along with ID for the Executor/s.  This will be required to make any changes to the shareholding or banking arrangements.
  • Transfer assets into the name of the Executor/s on behalf of the Estate – if assets are to be held for an extended period or administration is complex.
  • Open a bank account in the name of the Estate to assist the Executors in managing the financial affairs of the Estate (receiving and paying funds).
Intermediary 'Things to Do' Checklist
  • Check all dividends have been paid and received – particularly if bank accounts have been recently closed or amended.  Reconcile bank statements, search share registries for payment confirmation.
  • Switch off Dividend Re-investment Plan (DRP) participation – in writing to share registries.
  • Provide instructions to SELL, or prepare documentation to TRANSFER the shares to the beneficiaries, or to set up a TESTAMENTARY TRUST
  • Educate the Executors, Trustees & Beneficiaries
  • Ensure Executors, Trustees & Beneficiaries understand their role and responsibilities
  • Ensure they have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to deal with estate and inheritance matters
  • Guide them to assistance; Help with bedding down in their new role, introduce them to appropriate advice (eg. Accountant)
  • Follow-Up
  • Ask for Help

Final 'Things to Do' Checklist

Search for, and request cost base information to determine investment cost bases.  This greatly assists with tax issues that may arise on the future disposal of investments.  It is much easier to find the cost base information around the time of death rather than many years later when records may have been destroyed or become unavailable.

  • Information for determining cost bases includes original contract notes, transaction ledgers and company changes (demergers, takeovers, splits, ATO rulings, etc.), and even cost bases inherited from other parties.


  • Request all client transaction history from all brokers and financial advisers (client may have had multiple brokers or advisers) – for individual and joint holdings
  • Download information from share registry for holding balance history – this picks up all changes in the holding balances and includes “off-market” events such as Rights Issues, Share Purchase Plans, Capital Returns, De-Mergers etc.  Share registries hold electronic records from circa 2002
  • Once a takeover occurs, some share registry investor data is unavailable

If a company changes its share registry, shareholder historical transaction data does not transfer to the new registry:

  • Amend any Trust Deeds (eg. SMSF or Family Trusts) to reflect the change of circumstances [Seek Legal Advice]
  • Search for any Unclaimed Monies with ASIC and State Treasuries (search Government websites).  This includes unpaid dividends, dormant bank accounts and unclaimed Super.

'Estate Share Transactions Simplified'

Ord Minnett understands the complexity that can surround the sale or transfer of Deceased Estate shares. It is for this reason we provide a 'Estate Share Transactions - User Guide', designed as an aid to help simplify Estate Share Transactions.

Get in Touch

Start a Conversation with an Ord Minnett Adviser today.

'Simplifying Deceased Estate Transactions'

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