Can you avoid gifting rules by making will bequeaths?

Font Size:

Circumstances can change considerably when your partner dies. You may find yourself exceeding the Age Pension asset threshold, but does gifting apply if you bequeath in a will?

Q. Alison

My husband and I are homeowners awarded part Age Pensions on the basis of valued our joint assets. I understand that we will still be eligible for reduced part Age Pensions once the asset thresholds change, but believe that when one of us dies the survivor will no longer be entitled to an Age Pension unless the assets are below $541,200.  

What is the situation if the assets are reduced by gifts to our three children as beneficiaries of the will of the deceased spouse?

I’m not sure how gifts through a will relate to the rules governing other gifts. I imagine quite a lot of pensioner couples will be in a similar situation and would welcome clarification.

A. Provided by Centrelink

When a member of a couple dies, the surviving partner inherits assets that were held jointly. Assets held as tenants in common are distributed under the conditions of the deceased person’s will.

However, the gifting provisions would apply to the remaining member of the couple if assets held as joint tenants were given away to another person, whether that person is part of the family or not. Therefore you should also consider carefully the implications of passing on assets to children or other family members and friends and bypassing yourself, as this can affect your asset position and may result in changed payment rates.

You must advise Centrelink of any changes to your income and assets, as such changes may have an impact any payment you receive or for which you become eligible. 

If you have further questions, we encourage you to contact a Centrelink Financial Information Services (FIS) Officer to discuss your individual circumstances. FIS is a free and independent service and the FIS Officer will be able to help you explore your options. You can contact Centrelink’s Financial Information Service on 132 300.


Centrelink gifting rules for Age Pensions

How will a monetary gift of $10,000 affect the recipient's Age Pension?

Is a will worth the paper it’s written on?

We often read sensational stories about wills being challenged.

Written by Debbie McTaggart


Sign-up to the YourLifeChoices Enewsletter

continue reading

Technology Q&A

Blocking annoying relatives on social media and email

YourLifeChoices member Anne is having trouble with an angry relative and is looking for a way to block their emails...


Key to helping the immune system respond best to a COVID jab

How should you prepare for a COVID-19 vaccination? Nine reports that it is a good idea to exercise in the...

Finance News

How to be more ethical with your money

The pandemic is prompting people to consider more ethical places to keep their money, according to research. Triodos Bank found...

Superannuation News

Best performing super funds of the past 10 years revealed

Australia's strongest superannuation funds have returned twice as much as the weakest over the past 10 years. Australian Prudential Regulation...


Cutlery up or down in the dishwasher

The one thing I remember from my food technology class at school is to load knives tip down in the...


Our top picks from the Women's Prize for Fiction longlist

Looking for some autumn reading inspiration? You're in luck - the Women's Prize for Fiction has revealed this year's longlist....

Health news

When a 'deep clean' is ordered, what actually happens?

Brett Mitchell, University of Newcastle and Philip Russo, Monash University The Australian public's infection control literacy continues to expand. We...


Imaginative ways to use grow bags in small spaces

If you tend to grow your tomatoes and other vegies in unsightly plastic grow bags, it might be time to...