Increasingly, our clients have an international connection of some sort. In some cases a client will be mainly UK-based, perhaps with an overseas holiday home. In other cases, the only UK connection might be a property or bank account here.
The advice that we provide is on English law and UK taxation, but we also have a great deal of experience in dealing with matters which require legal and practical co-ordination across two or more jurisdictions. In order to support that work, we have a strong network of contacts with lawyers and other professionals across a wide range of jurisdictions, who we are able to call on to provide advice which dovetails with ours. In addition, we are happy to work with a client’s existing international advisers.
We are often asked to assist families with administering the estate of a person with international links. This advice can cover a number of different aspects, including:
- considering the validity of one or more Wills;
- reviewing the deceased person’s domicile status;
- determining which country's law will govern succession to assets;
- liaising with overseas lawyers to realise assets in different jurisdictions; and
- analysing the UK tax position, including the impact of any estate taxes levied abroad.
We also frequently assist overseas law firms which are doing the majority of the estate administration outside the UK, but require assistance with realising UK assets, and the UK tax and compliance matters associated with that.
Wills and estate planning with an international dimension
If you have assets in multiple jurisdictions, more than one nationality, or a family originating from outside the UK, then it may be the case that your estate planning will need to be a little more sophisticated, in order to deal with competing systems of law. We are well-placed to co-ordinate suitable planning, liaising with your international advisers as required.
Planning for arrival in the UK
The UK has a Statutory Residence Test (SRT), by which the UK tax authorities determine whether or not you are tax resident in the UK. This is different to your immigration status, and it should be noted that it is possible to become tax resident in the UK whilst travelling on a visitor or student visa.
We are able to advise you on whether and when you are likely to become tax resident in the UK and the tax consequences of this, together with planning that can be undertaken prior to the tax year of arrival. Equally, we can provide advice on the steps that should be taken to avoid UK tax residence, or in order to cease being a UK resident. The tax consequences of these various scenarios can be quite significant, and so we recommend that tailored advice is taken well in advance of a planned move to the UK.
We work closely with our immigration team, in order to provide a joined-up service for clients with UK visa requirements. We also work closely with our property team, and can provide advice on the best way to purchase a UK property, and estate planning that should be carried out at the time of purchase, in relation to what will be many clients' most valuable UK asset.
We work with individuals, banks and trust companies to provide advice in relation to offshore trust structures. The UK taxation, compliance and administration of such structures has increased in complexity in recent years, particularly where trusts hold UK property assets, or have UK resident beneficiaries.
We understand that there is no ‘standard’ approach in these cases, and we are always happy to have an initial conversation about the background to the trust and the family circumstances.