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Four factors when administering an estate with foreign assets

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2023 | Estate Administration, Probate |

Administering an estate is often more complicated than people realize. You have to inventory the estate, contact creditors, pay debts, handle final expenses, complete accountings, and ensure that assets are properly distributed. Yet, matters can be even more complex if the individual who passed away owned assets in other countries.

If you’re administering an estate where that’s the case, you need to know what issues to look out for so that you can properly fulfill your job duties.

Things to be aware of as you administer an estate with foreign assets

If you mishandle the administration of an estate, assets can be lost, and you can be accused of wrongdoing. You certainly don’t want that to happen, which is why you need to be aware of the following issues as you navigate your complex estate administration:

  • Each country may have different laws that dictate how assets are to be distributed and taxed.
  • Taxation may be based on nationality, domicile, or residence, which could impact how you approach estate administration.
  • Estate tax treaties may exist with the foreign country where assets are held, thereby specifying how assets are to be distributed or taxed.
  • The estate plan that was created may have been based on U.S. law and, therefore, may not be as clear as it initially seems given that foreign laws might apply.

There are a whole host of complications you can face when dealing with an estate involving foreign assets. But the process isn’t impossible to navigate. You simply need to understand the various laws in play and how they apply to the assets in question.

Do you need further guidance?

If so, now is the time to seek the support that you need. Waiting too long could result in unintended consequences that are bad for you, the estate, and named beneficiaries. However, you can diligently work to avoid those outcomes and can successfully fulfill the duties that have been given to you.