We are frequently called upon to secure English grants of probate for managing the British-based assets of deceased persons who were domiciled outside the UK. Our proficiency in these matters is demonstrated by the following case study.
The deceased, an international businessman, had died thirty years previously domiciled in Quebec. He was a substantial depositor with the London Branch of former Bank BCCI.
BCCI collapsed several years later, before the Quebec-based executors had taken control of the deceased’s UK estate. They had a claim in the liquidation and needed to validate their authority to act in the UK.
With little knowledge of the legal requirements, the executors’ efforts were stalled for many years. However, when they received notice that the UK liquidation process for BCCI was to close at the end of that year, urgent action became necessary. Otherwise, the claims of former UK depositors would have to be pursued in Luxembourg, with additional complications and expense.
The executors approached Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP two months before the closure date. They had become aware of the firm’s expertise in obtaining recognition of foreign Grants of Probate in the UK.
There were two particulars challenges:
• Quebec, alone of the Canadian Provinces, did not issue grants of probate. A full English probate application was therefore needed.
• The deceased died when Capital Transfer Tax was still in force. So existing UK Inheritance Tax forms, which normally have to be submitted before an English probate application, were not relevant.
Nevertheless, by liaising closely with staff at HM Revenue & Customs and the Probate Registry, as well as the executors’ professional advisers in Quebec, the desired outcome was achieved. Despite the seasonal shutdown towards the end of December, probate of the deceased’s UK estate was obtained shortly before the deadline. The executors were able to pursue their claim in the BCCI liquidation.
Contact Stuart Goodbody for more information on how we can help those dealing with international estates which have a UK dimension.