It is no longer unusual for a deceased to own property abroad because of family links, owning a second home, owning a timeshare, or having business arrangements.

Indeed the traditional locations of France and Spain have been overtaken by Eastern European countries, South East Asia and Australia.

It is essential to seek professional legal advice on how to administer any foreign assets.

Different countries have different inheritance laws, with some having a strict step–ladder of entitlement whereby children can automatically inherit irrespective of the terms of any Will. Some countries have complex inheritance tax laws and some have abolished inheritance tax altogether.

Is Inheritance Tax paid twice?

Any foreign asset will be taken into account when assessing a deceased’s liability for inheritance tax.

The Tax Office have reciprocal arrangements with most countries in the world to avoid an estate paying inheritance tax twice.

If an Estate pays inheritance tax abroad this will be deducted from the inheritance tax paid here.

Will my Executors need to apply for Probate abroad?

Yes. Your Executors will need to make a separate application in the Country where each asset is held. This applies to assets held in Scotland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

For assets held in most commonwealth countries an English Grant can be sealed under the Colonial Probate Act.

What is the next step?

If the deceased owned property abroad, made a Will in another country or owns property in this country but has a foreign passport it is essential to seek specialist legal advice.

We strongly recommend a face-to-face meeting with one of our specialist solicitors who will be able to explain things in greater detail and advise you on what to do next.

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