deceased estates and testamentary trusts


our expertise

The taxation of deceased estates and testamentary trusts is a complex and specialised area of taxation that is often poorly understood by many tax and legal practitioners, resulting in inaccurate tax assessments, the unnecessary depletion of estate assets and the possibility of executors becoming personally liable for taxation after the completion of the administration of the estate.

The BNR estate taxation team are considered nationally as the leading tax advisors on estate and trust taxation matters with one of the only dedicated teams of accountants in the country that specialise in this niche and complex area of taxation, providing estate taxation solutions and advice to legal practitioners, executors and listed trustee companies right across Australia.

Our vision is to be known by 2025 as the advisor of choice to professional trustees, legal practitioners and executors, by providing leading professional tax advice and services on deceased estates and trusts.

Date of death tax and personal tax obligations

BNR Partners can assist in preparing and lodging the deceased’s final income tax return and any outstanding prior years’ tax returns.  We are also able to attend to the ongoing tax obligations of estate and trust beneficiaries.

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As the executor is held personally responsible for the management of any outstanding tax obligations of the deceased, it is essential than an executor obtain an understanding of the historical tax affairs of the deceased.  To assist you with this, BNR Partners can provide a summary of the deceased’s tax return history and any outstanding obligations.

Letter of Advice

It is the executor’s personal responsibility during the administration of an estate to finalise any outstanding tax obligations that the deceased may have had at their date of death including dealing with any potential tax issues that may arise during the administration of the estate.

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As executors can be held personally liable for any outstanding tax obligations following the finalisation of the estate, the executors should show they have provided reasonable care when dealing with the deceased’s and estate’s tax affairs. With this job request, BNR can provide you with a letter of advice confirming any outstanding tax obligations and advise on tax issues that you may have encountered during the administration of the estate.

We are happy to take written instructions for any new matters. Please forward your request by email or to our postal address together, with the supporting documents as shown in our downloadable data Collection Check List.

Deceased estate and testamentary trusts

The BNR Partners team specialises in preparing estate and testamentary trust tax returns.  We have extensive experience in preparing tax returns for estates under all stages of administration. 

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Our team is also familiar with the nuances of preparing financial statements and tax returns for testamentary trusts, including trusts with life tenants, special disability trusts, testamentary discretionary trusts, minor’s trusts, superannuation proceeds trusts and testamentary charitable trusts.  Our services also include preparation of beneficiary tax statements.

BNR Partners can also manage the process of obtaining a tax file number for a deceased estate, a testamentary trust or other entities.

Estate Closure / Tax Clearance

On the pending closure of an estate or testamentary trust, BNR Partners can provide an estimate of the remaining tax obligations that the executor must make allowances for.

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This enables the executor or trustee to plan for the finalisation of their administration, and/or assess the viability of making interim distributions to beneficiaries.

Withholding tax obligations

Executors and trustees are responsible for the withholding and submission of tax on distributions to foreign beneficiaries, or when a beneficiary fails to quote their tax file number to the trustee of a testamentary trust.

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We can assist with the registration process and calculations of correct withholding tax amounts, and meeting the annual reporting obligations to the Australian Taxation Office.

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conferences and in-house training

Our team regularly presents on the various elements of estate taxation at legal conferences, as well as providing in-house training to both legal practices and trustee companies across Australia. We would be happy to discuss how we may be able to assist you with any conference, seminars or training events on this specialist topic.

Speaking Eventstraining enquiry

This is what some of our happy clients have to say about our services


“We highly recommend the estate taxation team at BNR Partners for all deceased estate and trust matters, particularly so with those that are complex or out of the ordinary. We regularly utilise the books written by Ian Raspin in this area and find it easy to refer with confidence to BNR Partners – especially when we can say to our clients that this firm literally “wrote the book on the areas we are seeking assistance with.”