Share Data > Sale & Transfer of Investment Securities > A Guide to Navigating Overseas Assets

A Guide to Navigating Overseas Assets

A step-by-step guide to assist you in administering deceased assets.

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The Estate Administration process can be complicated, especially when handling an estate that is not straightforward. For example, different rules will apply if the deceased did not have a will. In some instances, there may be missing beneficiaries to be tracked down before distributing the estate or foreign assets forming part of the estate.

The guide to Navigating Overseas Assets process will cover common questions like;

  • Difference between estate administration and probate
  • Difference between an Executor and an Administrator
  • Instances when probate may not be required
  • Whether a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is always required?
  • Intestacy and how it affects estate administration?
  • How can Share Data help?

By the end of the guide, you will have an idea of the practical matters that require immediate attention for an effective estate administration process. For any further questions, please contact the Share Data team.

Difference between Estate Administration and Probate

Simply put, probate is a part of the broader Estate Administration process. Probate involves a probate court validating the deceased will, authorizing the executor to pay any taxes, and creditors and distributing the estate to beneficiaries. Whether the deceased left a will, an executor administrator will oversee the estate administration process.

Difference between an Executor and an Administrator

An Executor or an administrator is a person dealing with the person’s estate who has died. An executor is formally named in the will to handle the estate administration process and may have to apply for a particular legal authority before dealing with the deceased estate. This is referred to as probate.

An Administrator oversees the estate administration process under certain circumstances. For example, if there is no valid will or where the named executors are unwilling to act. An administrator must apply for letters of administration to administer the estate.

Instances when Probate may not be required

Small estates with low financial value do not necessarily require probate. For example, if the deceased had less than £5 000 in their accounts, many banks will not require a grant of probate to
release the funds.

Whether a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is always required?

Generally, all asset holders will set limits above which Grant of probate or letters of administration is required. Where immovable assets such as houses, buildings, and land are concerned, a Grant of Probate or letters of administration will likely be needed. Where properties are in the deceased sole name, financial institutions like banks or building societies would require the Grant of Probate before releasing any funds.

Intestacy and how it affects Estate Administration?

When a person dies without a will, the estate is distributed according to the intestacy rules, where only specific individuals can automatically inherit the estate. These are civil partners, husbands, wives, and children. Where the deceased has no living children or other surviving relatives, the spouse receives the entire estate minus administration costs. The spouse benefits the most as any claims by other relatives, for example, parents are automatically eliminated.

How can Share Data help?

Share Data’s highly skilled team of specialists offers a range of services for Executors, Administrators, and beneficiaries, whether they reside in or outside the United Kingdom. Services include, but are not limited to:

• Domestic and overseas estates and assets
• Resealing Grants of Probate
• US shares and Estate Administration

Domestic and Overseas estates and assets

Share Data can help in the administration and consolidation of assets through the United Kingdom and most global jurisdictions. Where appropriate, our trusted agents and associates can assist. Our team can also help where the jurisdictions of Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and the Republic of Ireland are involved, whether obtaining a Grant of Representation or dealing with assets.

Share Data’s team can arrange for the reseal of probates issued in the territories listed in the Colonial Probates Act to enable the handling of UK assets. These territories mainly consist of those in the Commonwealth. Once resealed, probates issued overseas will have the same authority of a full Grant of Probate as if issued by the Probate Registry in England and Wales. This ensures that assets in England and Wales can be managed appropriately. In Scotland or Northern Ireland, resealing can no longer take place.

Resealing Grants of Probate

Share Data has been dealing with Probates or the equivalent and estate administration from around the world since 1995. Our vast experience allows us to advise Executors and beneficiaries alike on most estate situations, either looking outwards from the UK or looking inwards from outside the UK.

US shares and Estate Administration

US securities and assets can sometimes prove problematic. For example, when dealing with assets worth more than $60,000 on the day of death, most US firms, including share registrars, require a federal tax clearance and transfer certificate [Form 5173] as one of the documents to transfer the asset into the name of the executor and enable the sale or transfer of the asset to beneficiaries.

The process of obtaining Form 5173 is currently taking the United States IRS at least 12 months, and therefore, Share Data must be instructed in these matters as soon as possible. Several forms are required to apply for Federal tax clearance, including Form 706NA and Form 8971.

Share Data can prepare these and guide you through the process. Once Form 5173 is obtained, it will be possible to process the actual death registration. Share Data has the expertise to streamline the process, including the service to provide the Medallion Guarantee Stamp – another requirement for the transfer or sale of a US asset.

Medallion Signature Guarantees

When selling or transferring North American securities held in physical certificates or electronically, a Medallion Signature Guarantee is required to authenticate an investor’s identity and prove they legally own the assets they intend to transfer or sell. The transfer agent of the financial institution administering the transactions will require the parties involved to obtain a Medallion Signature Guarantee.

Share Data is one of the few companies outside the USA certified to administer a Medallion Signature Guarantee stamp and, has been a member of the Securities Transfer Agents Medallion Programme (STAMP) since 2014.

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