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International Probate

We live in an international world where many cross borders for work, study, retirement, and leisure.

Many Australians hold real estate, shares, bank deposits and business interests in a foreign country.  Similarly, many foreigners residing overseas hold assets in Australia.

Some people have assets not only in Australia and other countries but in multiple jurisdictions.  Increasingly, lawyers have to deal with deceased estates with international probate issues.

Deceased estates with cross-border assets create challenges for executors, beneficiaries, and their lawyers.  They have to deal with the administration of a deceased estate in a foreign environment without the knowledge of the law and procedures in multiple jurisdictions.  In this scenario, executors and their lawyers will have to ask the following questions when dealing with international probate: –

  • Which country should the probate proceedings commence?
  • Can probate proceedings in different countries commence at the same time? Or must probate be processed in one country first before moving on to the next country?
  • Is the will of the deceased made in one country recognised in another?
  • In cases where the deceased did not have a will, are the beneficiaries of the deceased estate and the proportion of their respective shares different in different countries?
  • Can the executor from one jurisdiction cross borders to receive funds and collect the assets of the deceased estate held in another country after probate is granted?
  • Will it be more cost-efficient for a lawyer within a jurisdiction to act for an overseas executor pursuant to a power of attorney so that the lawyer can obtain probate and collect the assets quicker compared to what an overseas executor can achieve?
  • Can a beneficiary in a different country who has been left out of the will make a claim against the estate in different countries?
  • What is the most cost-efficient way to deal with a multi-jurisdictional deceased estate?

All of the above issues can be overwhelming particularly after the loss of a loved one. In Robertson Hayles Lawyers, our probate lawyers can provide you with a path forward and peace of mind that your loved one’s estate is being managed properly and promptly.  Our lawyers have the experience, skill and contacts to assist executors and beneficiaries of deceased estates in navigating cross-border issues.  We do not profess to know the law in multiple legal jurisdictions but with years of dealing with probate matters across borders, we have gained the experience to understand cross-border issues, to ask the legal representatives in foreign jurisdictions the right questions and to guide executors and beneficiaries to manage cross border issues in a prompt and cost-efficient manner.

In Roberston Hayles Lawyers, we have dealt with many practical issues with elements of international probate, including the following: –

  • Working with legal representatives in foreign countries to determine the quickest and most efficient way for an international deceased estate to be dealt with across different jurisdictions.
  • For Australian deceased estates, tracing beneficiaries and assets in overseas jurisdictions.
  • For foreign deceased estates, tracing beneficiaries and assets in Australia.
  • Determining how money from the sale of assets in overseas jurisdictions can be collected without difficulty by the Australian-based executor.
  • Verifying the identity of beneficiaries residing overseas to ensure that the correct beneficiaries receive their rightful share of the estate.
  • Ensuring funds of a deceased estate collected in Australia are sent to the overseas beneficiary in the currency sought by that overseas beneficiary.

Over the years, we have assisted Australian-based executors to deal with probate and assets in the United Kingdom, United States of America, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong and many other countries.

Similarly, we have assisted executors from the above jurisdictions and from other countries in North America, Europe, and Asia to obtain probate and deal with Australian assets of an overseas deceased estate.

This journey working with clients in international probate matters has been challenging but satisfying as we have assisted many families to overcome the anxiety and hurdles of dealing with assets in a foreign jurisdiction and resolve the estate of their loved ones in a timely manner so that they receive their rightful inheritance.