What to organise before you die

There’s a lot to organise before you die. There are some things you can do to reduce the burden on your family.

Writing your will

A will or legal document sets out how you want to distribute your estate or personal assets after death. It is a formula set out by law.

If you die and don’t have a will, your state or territory government will try to find a close relative. If they can’t find a relative, chances are your estate will go to the government.

Attend one of our free Financial Information Service (FIS) seminars about estate planning.

Making your wishes known

If you would like to be an organ and tissue donor it’s important to tell your family of your decision. They’ll have the final say.

Transplants give people a second chance at life. At any time more than 1,300 Australians are on organ transplant waiting lists.

By registering your organ and tissue donor decision you can save up to 10 lives and improve many more.

Planning and saving for your funeral

You should let your family and friends know how you would like your funeral. It will help them make decisions during what may be a very difficult and stressful time.

Saving for the funeral

Having a plan, will allow you to work out how much it will cost so you can save for it.

If you can, put aside a little money regularly to save for your own funeral.

If you get a Centrelink payment, you may be able to use Centrepay to help with your funeral costs. You can tell us how much you want to pay and we’ll take money from your pay before you get it.

It’s important you tell your family or the executor of your will about the account. This way they’ll know how to access it. To access the funds, your family needs to give evidence of your relationship, proof of death and the funeral cost.

You may choose to pay for your funeral in full before you die. There’s a few options:

  • pre-pay your funeral for an agreed service and remember to give a copy to your executor and put one with your will
  • invest your money in a funeral bond who will release the funds to the estate or the funeral director if you nominate one
  • take out a funeral insurance policy which is a lump sum payment towards the cost of a funeral in the future.

Superannuation

Many superannuation funds include life insurance, death and disability insurance. You should check to see if yours does.

Ask the fund what will happen to your superannuation when you die and who they’ll pay it to. Unless you tell them, the super fund trustee may decide who to make the payments to.

Read about super death benefits on the Australian Taxation Office website.

Getting help with your money

You can speak to a financial counsellor by contacting any of the following:

  • your local Community Information and Referral Service
  • a Welfare Rights Centre
  • the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Rural Financial Counselling service.

You can speak to a financial counsellor if you:

  • would like help to work out a budget
  • would like to know which products best suit your needs
  • are in financial trouble.

The National Debt Helpline offers free financial counselling. If you’re in financial difficulty you can get free expert advice to get a clear picture of your finances.

Find a financial counsellor in your area on the National Debt Helpline website.

Moneysmart has information to help you plan for your own funeral or the funeral of a family member. The following links will take you to the Moneysmart website:

Page last updated: 7 October 2021