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Estate Distribution: A Guide for Beneficiaries

As an estates law firm we handle a LOT of estate distributions. Over the years we’ve seen just how crucial effective communication is with beneficiaries to ensure that everyone understands the estate process and timelines. Unfortunately, while estates can be handled very effectively and routinely, they will often take months and lots of paperwork to sort out properly. And when a beneficiary doesn’t know what’s actually involved in looking after an estate it is not uncommon for them to become impatient.

So we thought it may be useful to provide an estate distribution letter to beneficiaries showing the sorts of information typically included in letters to beneficiaries regarding estate distribution:

Estate distribution letter to beneficiaries


Dear beneficiaries

We understand the anticipation and complexity surrounding the distribution of a loved one’s estate. The process involves several crucial steps, and we’re here to provide clarity and guidance.

Confirming the estate gift

In your loved one’s Will, there is a provision for you to receive a benefit from the estate as can be seen by the copy of the Will enclosed. Rest assured, if your distribution is a share of the estate, once all assets and liabilities of the estate have been confirmed and Probate has been obtained we’ll reach out to all beneficiaries to provide a more accurate value of your distribution. It is very important not to commit to any financial agreements on the basis of having received an estate distribution until you have actually received the distribution.

Steps in the Estate Process

To adhere to legal protocols, once all assets and liabilities have been confirmed, Probate will need to be applied for before the estate can be otherwise administered. Until that time, assets remain frozen. The executor will file all necessary documents with the Court, fulfilling any requirements as mandated. This process can take several months to ensure compliance with legal requirements. However, to ensure the distributable estate remains intact, we’ll avoid unnecessary legal costs of reporting to all beneficiaries unless we have a pertinent update.

Minimising Legal Costs in a deceased estate

While transparency is key, unnecessary legal costs will need to be avoided, and as such reports to beneficiaries will be provided as necessary based on specific circumstances or at certain milestones within the estate process.

Estate distribution timeframes and requirements

Please understand that the distribution process may take from 6 to 12 months from the date of your loved one’s passing. This timeline is in line with NSW laws surrounding distribution and potential claims against the estate.

Prior to any distribution executors may need to attend to lodgement of individual and estate tax returns as well as requesting and receiving documents from beneficiaries themselves including verification of identity documents, as well as statutory declarations confirming their bank account details, that they are neither bankrupt nor insolvent and haven’t assigned their interest in the estate for creditors’ benefit to receive benefit from the estate.

Beneficiary documents

To ensure there is no delay in distribution of the estate it is important for beneficiaries to comply with reasonable requests for documentation to assist in distributing to them in a timely manner.

Yours faithfully

Estates Law Firm


We hope this estate distribution letter to beneficiaries assists in drafting effective and informative letters to beneficiaries, ensuring clarity and compliance throughout the estate distribution process.

Every deceased estate is different and while it is not always easy to navigate, providing clarity as to timeframes and expectations throughout the estate distribution process can make the estate process much smoother for everyone.

If you are an executor and need assistance with managing your loved one’s estate you can book in a free 10 minute chat here or send us an email here or at [email protected].

We’ll look after you.

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