Opinion Number. 1035

Subject

DEFENCE FORCES: COMMONWEALTH IMMUNITY FROM STATE LAWS WHETHER MILITARY ESTATE OF DECEASED SOLDIER IS EXEMPT FROM STATE SUCCESSION DUTY: WHETHER COMMONWEALTH IS OBLIGED TO FURNISH PARTICULARS OF MILITARY ESTATE TO STATE AUTHORITIES

Date
Client
The Secretary, Department of Defence

The Secretary to the Department of Defence has forwarded for advice certain correspondence which has passed between the District Finance Officer, 3rd Military District, and the Curator of Estates of Deceased persons for Victoria relative to the inclusion of the amount of the military estates of deceased soldiers in the total value of their estates for the purpose of estimating the succession duties payable thereon.

The Secretary states:

It would appear that the Curator desires information regarding the amount of military estate distributed to the beneficiaries in order that such amount may be added to any civil estates which he may have administered and the usual commission charge made upon the deceased soldiers' dependants.

This Department is of the opinion that the inclusion of the amount of military estate in the total value of the estates for probate duty purposes should, if possible, be resisted.

In my opinion there is nothing in any law of the Commonwealth to prevent the Curator adding the amount of the military estate of a deceased soldier to his civil estate and estimating, on the total amount so found, the amount of succession duty payable on the estate. There is not, however, in my opinion, any obligation placed on the Department of Defence to furnish the Curator with particulars as to the military estates of deceased soldiers. Whether such particulars should be furnished or not is purely a question of policy.

[Vol. 17, p.161]