Probate and Will, Trust & Estate Disputes

Advising on disputed, multi-jurisdictional probate

The deceased died in the UK with valuable assets in several different countries, each with differing tax laws. The probate was administratively complex as the personal representatives had to apply for probate to be granted in three separate countries. The estate was further complicated by a number of claims which had been brought against the estate by disappointed family members who sought further financial provision.

The personal representatives were able to draw upon the probate team’s extensive experience including the analysis of the deceased’s worldwide assets and finances, advising on the operation of the international tax regimes, making applications to the international courts and collecting in the assets from foreign bodies and organisations subject to the local administrative procedures.

Once the personal representatives had collected in the worldwide estate, they were able to take advice on significant tax reliefs available to the estate. For example, the deceased’s spouse was a non-UK citizen and would not therefore qualify for automatic spousal exemption. Given a large portion of the estate was left to her, the absence of the relief would have had a devastating effect on the estate’s tax position.

A standalone application to HMRC secured the spousal exemption on behalf of the estate which, in turn, mitigated the inheritance tax payable on the rest of the estate by the other beneficiaries, maximising the deceased’s unused nil rate band.

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