Calculating Assets & Debts Of The Deceased Estate

By Nicholas Marouchak

07 March 2021 - 3 min read

At this stage, you should search your loved one’s personal possessions and papers to find out about the assets, after-death income and debts they had.

Assets to Consider

You need to include all assets that they owned anywhere in the world, such as:

  • Money in bank
  • Real estate
  • Vehicle, motorbike, trailer, boat
  • Life insurance (separate to superannuation)
  • Shares & investments
  • Particularly valuable items such as antiques, paintings, rare or expensive collections
  • Aged care bond
  • Furniture and personal effects – This is a catchall item to specify personal possessions and belongings. This should be included.
  • Employment entitlements such as accrued annual leave, long service leave or unpaid wages.
  • Money owed by other people or organisations. Eg loans or reimbursements from healthcare providers or government organisations.
  • Physical cash on hand
  • A refund from the Australian Taxation Office
  • An entitlement to receive money or inheritance from another deceased estate
  • A pre-payment on a credit card or equivalent (e.g the account is in credit not debit)
  • Interest in a business, partnership or joint venture
  • Tools of trade
  • Rural assets such as crops, livestock and farming implements, plant and equipment

Debts to Consider

Here are some examples of debts to look out for when you’re conducting your searches:

  • Mortgage
  • Unpaid bills (eg. power, gas, telephone, internet, insurance)
  • Local counsel rates
  • Debts to ATO, Centrelink or other government organisation
  • Unpaid fines
  • Credit card
  • Personal loans (e.g car loan)
  • Debts to friends and family
  • Household bills
  • Medical bills
  • Funeral bills

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How to Value Assets & Debts

Here is a guide on how to value different types of assets and debts

As a general rule, calculate the value at the date of death, not today’s value.

If you don’t have any statements (e.g super or bank statements), you can make an educated guess or write down that you’re not sure (and complete it at a later time).

By the end you should have some idea of your loved one’s financial position.

It’s okay if you do not have all the information. You can update it later.

Cash-like assets

For things like bank accounts, shares on public exchanges and superannuation, all you need to do is check the statement or the share price to determine its value.

Real Estate

You don’t need to get appraisals or valuations at this stage.

You can estimate it by comparing similar properties or use a reputable online valuation website.

Non-Cash Assets

For other assets, such as cars, boats, furniture, valuables etc, when assigning a value, specify the second-hand re-sale value.

A good way to think about this is how much would the asset get if sold at a garage sale, second-hand dealer or on the open market.


Sometimes the estate may receive income after death, such as refunds, cheques, rent etc.

Enter these separately as income received, if it has not been included as part of the bank balance anywhere else.


You will need to keep track of the debts your loved one had, as the estate has a general obligation to settle debts before distributing anything to the beneficences. We go into more details about this in the later steps.