Overseas AccountClosures

In an increasingly mobile world, it’s no longer unusual for UK residents to find themselves, whether through work or property ownership, with a bank account abroad. It might have proved troublesome for the account holder to close, or it may have been forgotten entirely, and so becomes an asset, and a potential problem, for the estate.

Others open investment accounts and portfolios in foreign jurisdictions, often as part of wealth planning, not realising there may be cross-border consequences later for their estate representatives or designated beneficiaries to deal with.

As many have found, closing these accounts can be a lengthy and time-consuming process once the account holder dies. Where the account was held by a deceased person who is not a national of the country concerned, a raft of hurdles materialises when the estate representatives try to fulfil foreign financial institutions’ requirements. These can be legal and official as well as administrative, and vary widely, not only depending on the country but the institution and even the type of account. Even getting a date of death balance to accurately report the value of the asset to HMRC can present significant challenges.

Delays, culture and language clashes, and financial institutions’ own extremely stringent privacy and security policies can all prove frustrating for Executors more used to institutions in the United Kingdom with a good deal of accountability and oversight.

The banks’ exact instructions can be hard to pin down as they may vary with each account; and UK residents may have to clear a number of obstacles before the account can be closed, such as dealing with bank officials in different departments, obtaining a Federal Transfer Certificate from the IRS, arranging for official translations of estate documents, or attendance at Consular offices., for example.

Delays, culture and language clashes, and banks’ own increasingly stringent privacy and security policies, can all prove extremely frustrating for Executors.

As expert overseas probate advisers, Finders can assist you with the work of closing accounts in a variety of overseas jurisdictions, helping you navigate the maze of bureacracy: please contact us for a tailored quotation.

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