How to handle foreign assets in Probate

Foreign assets and Probate

Probate is a complicated process, but things can be made even more complex if you’re dealing with an estate that has assets outside of England and Wales, or if you live abroad and need to apply for Probate in the UK.

The process can be a daunting one, especially if you’re grieving too, which is why many people now turn to a Kent accountant for Probate services for help. A professional such as this can provide help with all stages of the process, including finding the Will or identifying who can administer the estate, applying for Probate, filling in inheritance tax forms, and collecting funds.

Let’s take a look at Probate when there are foreign assets to consider.

If the deceased held foreign assets

Any assets that are located abroad need to be valued as of the date their owner died. As with assets held in the UK, a Grant of Probate is required to release the assets. Some countries may accept an English document, which makes the process quicker and easier; others may require you to apply for Probate where the asset is located.

Of course, if assets are held in several different countries, this makes the process more complex and time consuming.

If the deceased lived abroad

If your loved one’s permanent residence was overseas when they died, the law of their country of residence will apply to the Probate process. If they have left a valid Will, it should cover assets both in the UK and abroad.

In English and Welsh law, immoveable assets, such as property and land, are usually handled according to the laws of the country in which they’re located. So if the deceased owned a house in France but lived in Spain, the house would be dealt with according to French law. Moveable assets, however, such as bank accounts, can be handled according to the law of the country where they lived – in this example, Spain.

Of course, all countries have different Probate laws, so it’ll be up to the banks and financial institutions where assets are held how they choose to deal with them. If there are assets in more than one country, it’s best to seek advice from a professional, as laws can conflict. You can also get help from Kent tax advisors regarding the way in which inheritance tax should be handled.

If you live overseas

If your loved one lived in England or Wales, but you’re living overseas, you can still apply for Probate in the UK. There will likely be some challenges that complicate the process, but everything can be managed successfully – particularly if you obtain help from a professional such as an accountant that is licenced to deal with Probate.

Issues you may face include:

  • Slow postal services between your country of residence and the UK
  • Increased costs of sending important documents
  • Different inheritance tax rules
  • Valuations – someone will have to be engaged to visit property, for example, to value it and make an inventory

For help with administering an estate from abroad or dealing with foreign assets, speak to a reputable accountant today.

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