When an individual passes away, dealing with their estate can be difficult and overwhelming. Added complexities arise when the individual dies outside of the UK, which is important to consider.

Several things need to be established before you start dealing with the estate.

Cross-Border Estates: What to do when an individual dies whilst living abroad

Contact Our Wills, Trusts, and Probate Team

Where was the Deceased Domiciled?

Usually, one of the first questions that need to be established when dealing with the estate of someone based abroad is, "where were they domiciled?". Executors and Administrators must be careful not to fall into the trap of focusing on where someone lived at the time of their death. The important concept to consider is where the individual was domiciled, as their domicile will determine which legal and tax system applies to their estate.

The concept of domicile can be complicated and will depend on the circumstances. A domicile will be more easily established if an individual was born in one country and lived in that country their entire life. However, domicile is not always a clear-cut concept where an individual has moved countries. Legal advice will be required to establish the Deceased's domicile.

Contact Our WTP Team

How do I deal with the Deceased's assets?

Different countries have different rules and processes when dealing with a Deceased person's assets. Instructing a lawyer in each jurisdiction where assets are held will be necessary to navigate these rules.

It is possible that the Deceased left one Will or multiple Wills in different jurisdictions. These will need to be looked at in detail.

If there are no assets in the UK, you may not need to go through the probate process here unless the person was still domiciled here, and tax is payable; however, if there are assets in the UK, then you may still need to go through the UK probate process. Usually, you will need to obtain a grant or go through the equivalent process in the jurisdiction where the Deceased was domiciled first.

Get In Touch With Myerson Solicitors

I have already obtained a Grant in a foreign jurisdiction – can I use this in England and Wales?

If a Grant has been obtained in a foreign jurisdiction, it may be possible to "reseal" the foreign Grant by applying to the Probate Registry in England and Wales. This only applies to certain jurisdictions, namely Commonwealth countries.

If the foreign Grant cannot be resealed or a foreign grant has not been obtained, a new application will need to be made to the Probate Registry in England and Wales for a Grant of Representation. A legal professional in the jurisdiction where the Deceased was domiciled will need to provide information about that legal system and confirm the correct beneficiaries of the Deceased's estate.

Once the Grant has been obtained or resealed, this will give the Executor or Administrator authority to deal with the assets held in England and Wales.

Speak With Our WTP Solicitors

Do I have to pay tax in the UK?

If a person is domiciled in the UK, inheritance tax is potentially payable to HMRC on their worldwide assets. If they are domiciled outside the UK, inheritance tax will only be payable to HMC on their UK assets

Various reliefs and thresholds may apply, so it is important to take tailored professional advice when assessing the tax position.

If you would like to discuss the probate process in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact our Probate team, who will be happy to assist.

Speak to Our Experts About Cross-Border Estates

Contact Our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team

At Myerson, our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team offers advice on all aspects of WTP law. For more information on the range of legal services we can provide, please fill out the form below or call:

0161 941 4000