US assets and probate administration
The deceased had shares in a publicly quoted company in the USA. In the US, procedures vary widely from state to state and are not consistent. In addition, there are considerable delays in obtaining replies from share registrars, and frequently wrong information is given. Also, Medallion Guarantees are needed and documents are required to be certified by English courts within particular time periods. It is an exercise in delay and frustration and frequently tests the patience of the calmest of persons.
In addition, if the US assets are worth more than US$60,000 then Form 706-NA has to be filed with the USA IRS within 9 months of the date of death even though in most cases the requirement to even file the form, let alone the time period, is not known to the deceased’s estate until long after the English estate has been nearly completely settled. Fines can be imposed for delay in filing the Form. The US IRS will take (by their own admission) between 6 – 18 months to issue the needed Federal Transfer Certificate before any assets in the USA can be sold or transferred.
In addition, Form W8-BEN confirming that the Executors are non-resident for US tax purposes will usually have to be filed with the company concerned. This has to be renewed every 3 years.
The result was that after a period of nearly 2 years we were able to have the US assets transferred into the names of the Executors and then subsequently the shares were sold and the proceeds accounted for to the estate.