What does International Probate mean?
Our International Probate Service is provided qualified Solicitors on our panel are experienced in dealing with estates where the Executor or Administrator is not located in the UK during the Estate Administration. All of the solicitors on our panel are capable of completing the administration of the estate through phone calls and emails. Whilst dealing with an international executor. We arrange calls for a time that suits you regardless of the time zone so that the process doesn’t get slowed down.
If you have been named the executor of an estate located in England and wales but you are living in another country, we understand it is not always possible to put all your responsibilities on hold and travel to another country. The time it takes for an application of probate to be granted and the estate to be administered can vary greatly and it’s not always realistic or financially viable to put everything on hold until the process is complete.
The solicitors on our panel are experienced in administering estates where there are international executors who are not resident in the UK. The legal and administrative work will be managed by the solicitor with frequent updates to the international executor via phone calls and emails. A home visit is not necessary, and you will not need to find the time or means to attend a meeting at a solicitor’s office.
Establishing what’s in the estate
One of the first steps in estate administration is locating information on the deceased’s assets in order to get an understanding of what work will be involved. This is easier to do when you are in the same area as the deceased as you would normally do this by going through the deceased’s paperwork, in most cases, this is kept at their place of residence. When you live in another country this is a difficult task, a good time to do this would be if you are arranging to attend the funeral. Taking a couple of hours to go through the deceased’s paperwork will help you to proceed in the estate administration. Having a good understanding of what assets are involved will help you to obtain accurate quotes if you are looking for someone to do the work on your behalf.
If you are unable to make the trip oversees to the deceased’s place of residence, if instructed, your designated solicitor can arrange for the paperwork to be collected from the property by a third party and kept safe at their office while establishing what assets are there and what work needs to be done.
Valuing a property
The next step would be having the deceased’s assets valued for the probate application and to calculate the correct amount of tax that needs to be paid. Property is often the most valuable asset in an Estate and will need to be valued for probate and inheritance tax purposes, our solicitors can arrange for a property valuation while you are in the UK even if that is only for a few days. We have access to Estate agents all over the UK and will prioritise your time schedule when arranging the Valuation.
If you are not planning on coming to the UK the property can still be valued, you can elect a family member, friend or neighbour to escort the estate agent or RICS surveyor around the property on your behalf. If this is not an option the solicitor can arrange for the agent to have access to the property to conduct a probate survey.
Clearing the property
If the property is going to be sold it will become necessary for the property to be cleared. This is normally something the family members wish to do so that they can organise the deceased possessions and distribute any sentimental items. It is also important to remove any valuable items from the deceased’s property for safekeeping. If you are only in the country for the funeral, you may have the time to visit the property to collect any paperwork and sentimental items but it is unlikely you will have the time to thoroughly organise and clear the property.
Our solicitors can arrange for the property to be cleared and the chattel valued for probate on your behalf. If you will not be visiting the property at any point the solicitor can arrange for the property to be cleared and for any valuable items or sentimental items to be removed from the property for safekeeping and stored until they are able to be collected by the executor or the beneficiaries.
Signing the Oath
In order for probate to be granted the executors of the estate must sign an oath stating that the information in the application is correct. This Oath is normally signed at the probate registry or a commissioner of oaths. However, when an executor lives abroad attending an interview at an office can be problematic, therefore our solicitors will arrange for you to sign the oath in your country of residence at a notary or that countries equivalent.
The time it takes to administer an estate can vary for a multitude of reasons, probate can take anywhere between 3 months to 2 years (sometimes longer if there are a lot of complications). When applying for probate from another country this process can take a little longer as documents will need to be posted and signed in these cases photocopies or scans will not be considered valid. Therefore, this can increase the amount of time it takes to administer the Estate waiting for documents to arrive. To try and reduce this time and to ensure the safe delivery of important documents, our solicitors will send all documents via tracked international post or a tracked international courier service.
International probate for foreign assets
When a person dies with assets in more than one country it can add some complication the administration process. Every country has different laws in regards to inheritance and depending on the circumstances you may be able to reseal an English Grant of Probate but in others, it may be necessary to obtain a grant of probate or the equivalent in more than one country. As the inheritance laws are different depending on the country the processes will also vary.
Using a solicitor in the countries the assets are held
It is important when dealing with ‘cross border estates’ to be aware of the different laws and what complications can arise. For this reason, it is recommended to use a solicitor or the equivalent in the country or countries that the assets are held. Looking for a solicitor in another country is not always simple, especially if there is a different language involved but this is something you can do yourself. The solicitors on our panel will work alongside your chosen solicitor in order to achieve a smooth process and ensure the correct laws and procedures are followed.
Our solicitor can advise you if you are having trouble finding a solicitor in the relevant country, we can also locate potential solicitors for you to choose from.
Translated Legal Documents
When dealing with foreign assets it is sometimes necessary to provide the death certificate and will and in most cases these documents will need to be translated into the language of the country holding the assets. These documents along with the original will need to be sent to any institution holding assets under the deceased name.
Final Duties can arrange for a fully certified and stamped translation of the death certificate at a fixed rate fee of £99 as part of our probate service.
Tax on assets coming into the UK
Once probate or the equivalent has been granted the assets will be distributed according to the wishes in the will. In some cases, distribution includes liquidating the foreign assets and the proceeds being passed onto the beneficiaries. There are specific tax implications on transfer assets from one country to another it is important to ensure the correct calculations and procedures are followed.
As part of the full administration process, our solicitors will account for any income to the estate from foreign assets and calculate the tax in order to provide the correct information on the inheritance tax applications.