Administration of estates—foreign assets
Administration of estates—foreign assets

The following Wills & Probate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Administration of estates—foreign assets
  • Common law and civil law principles affecting foreign estates
  • Cross-border issues affecting succession
  • Situs of the asset
  • Joint accounts, trusts and matrimonial property
  • Multiple Wills affecting the deceased’s worldwide estate
  • Deceased domiciled in England and Wales
  • PRs’ duties in relation to foreign assets
  • Tax in relation to foreign assets
  • Inheritance tax and foreign assets
  • More...

Administration of estates—foreign assets

Common law and civil law principles affecting foreign estates

Personal representatives (PRs) will come across foreign estates in the context of assets located abroad, the deceased having been located or having connections abroad (ie nationality, residence or domicile) and beneficiaries located abroad. For those PRs affected by cross-border issues, they will need to know about the principles that apply in practice to the administration of an estate of a foreign domiciliary with property in the UK and the key issues where the estate of an English domiciliary includes foreign property. For information on the administration of estates of non-domiciled individuals, see Practice Note: Administration of estates—non-domiciled individuals.

A key question is how beneficiaries of a cross-border estate take physical possession of their property, which demonstrates just one difference between civil and common law jurisdictions. Other differences include:

Common lawCivil law
Estate vests in PRsEstate vests directly in heirs
The identity of the executors is evidenced by court order: the grant of representationIdentity of the heirs is evidenced by notarial act
PRs/beneficiaries are not liable for debts in excess of assets of the estateHeirs normally take the assets subject to liabilities, except in instances in which they can (or are obliged by law to) limit their liability for debts to the value of assets of the estate by accepting the inheritance

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