Administration of trusts—foreign assets
Administration of trusts—foreign assets

The following Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Administration of trusts—foreign assets
  • Reasons why foreign assets may be held in trust
  • Administrative duties and powers
  • Tax
  • Establishing title
  • Enforcement of foreign judgments

Increasingly, UK trustees hold foreign assets as part of trust property. This may be because:

  1. they have been put into trust by the original settlor

  2. they form part of the testator’s estate or

  3. the trustees have acquired them

Reasons why foreign assets may be held in trust

An individual with a sizeable global investment portfolio may place foreign assets in trust during their lifetime with the aim of, for example:

  1. alleviating problems on death

  2. protecting assets from outside claims

  3. avoiding forced heirship rules

Investing in foreign assets

If UK trustees are considering investing overseas, the following points should be considered:

  1. whether the trustees have power to invest overseas—the investment powers conferred by Trustee Act 2000 (TrA 2000) permit trustees to invest in foreign assets subject to any express powers within the trust instrument. Note that the statutory provisions under TrA 2000 relating to investment in land apply only to land situate in the UK. Where the investment power does not permit what is proposed, the trustees may consider applying to court for an extension of their powers

  2. diversification—whether the trust fund is sufficiently large to justify diversification into an international portfolio. Exposure to foreign holdings may be gained without direct investment (and the associated legal and administrative complications of doing so), eg via an investment trust administered in the UK

  3. tax