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Overseas Account Closures with Finders International

Billions is invested overseas by people in the UK[1]. Individuals invest abroad for a multitude of reasons – working overseas, buying property there, maximising their savings and wealth planning with an investment portfolio, and so on – unaware of the potential cross-border implications that their estate representatives or designated beneficiaries may face in the future. Many foreign companies actively reach for UK investment, with attractive rewards or favourable taxation regimes, making it even easier to acquire assets outside the UK.

But one thing tends to unite these assets – they’re easier to open than to close, especially once the original account holder dies. When the Executors or estate administrators seek to close accounts and dispose of assets overseas, a variety of difficulties can come up and make the process drawn out and time-consuming.

The problems can start right at the beginning; the details of an account may be old, and the account holder’s address may not have been kept up to date. Accounts held online only are an increasing problem for those seeking to gather in estate assets from all over the world.  A lack of up to date information about an account can make it very difficult to ‘find’ the right team dealing with that account.

Another issue is that having no Grant or Confirmation in place can make it difficult for the estate administrators to clear the foreign institutions’ security. However, many institutions will not provide a date of death balance confirmation until the account is almost closed; this delays the process of applying for probate.

Executors, accustomed to the comparably high levels of accountability and oversight provided by UK institutions, can find themselves exasperated by delays, cultural and language differences, and the strict privacy and security policies enforced by foreign banks. Sometimes, half the battle is just finding out what a foreign financial institution actually wants to close the account. Very few requirements are ‘standard’; precise instructions may vary for each account, and even globally recognise, multinational banks have completely different procedures in each country.

Executors and practitioners may find themselves, over many months, interacting with various bank officials, obtaining a tax clearance from the relevant country’s tax collection agencies (such as the Federal Transfer Certificate from the US’ Internal Revenue Service), arranging for Apostilles and official translations of estate documents, or even visiting Consular offices. Local probate may be needed; and this can significantly increase the cost and timeframe to reach the conclusion of the work.

Navigating these red tape, procedural, cultural and even legal challenges can prove exceptionally frustrating for Executors and estate administrators.

As expert overseas probate advisers, Finders can provide invaluable assistance in the process of closing accounts in diverse foreign jurisdictions. We possess the expertise to guide you through the intricacies of bureaucracy. Please feel free to reach out to us for a personalised quotation tailored to your specific needs, via email at contact@findersinternational.co.uk, or by filling out an inquiry form here.

[1] Source: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/articles/exploringforeigninvestmentwheredoestheukinvestandwhoinvestsintheuk/2018-11-01

This article was submitted to be published by Finders International as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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