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Can we store a UK will outside the UK?

(12 Posts)
gingerpusscat Sat 25-Feb-17 05:44:37

DH and I emigrated to Australia a few years ago. We have no assets remaining in the UK, apart from small pensions which are not transferable to Australia. However, DH is named as a beneficiary of his mother's and also his uncle's considerable estates (at least as their wills currently stand, they are both happily alive and well). Our toddler DS is also named as an eventual beneficiary of DH's uncle's estate. So while we don't currently have assets in the UK worth worrying about, at some point in the future DH is likely to inherit considerable sums of money.

What should we do about wills, given we're no longer there? We have UK will kits (bought at WH Smith's on a visit last year) and we are currently drawing up simple mirror wills. Once we have completed the necessary formalities, can we keep them here in Australia with our solicitor? Or do we need to have them stored somewhere in the UK?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

gingerpusscat Sat 25-Feb-17 05:52:28

The reason this has issue arisen now is that DH's father suddenly died last year, and DH is inheriting a large sum, which will be deposited in our UK bank account sometime in the next few months. DH's father died intestate, and this has created some anxiety in DH about ensuring his own affairs are well in order. I cannot believe I forgot to put this in the original post, it has been an extremely stressful and sad time for the whole family.

isthistoonosy Sat 25-Feb-17 05:52:45

I have a uk will which i had drawn up in the uk and the advice they gave was while it would be considered and followed any laws on inheritance where i live would have to be followed first. They said its fine to store it myself.
Im in Sweden.

gingerpusscat Sat 25-Feb-17 05:58:21

Thanks isthistoonosy - can I ask does your UK will concern itself with your Swedish assets? We were intending to have an Australian will for Australian-based assets and a UK will for UK-based assets. I wonder if this is, in fact, necessary...

isthistoonosy Sat 25-Feb-17 06:39:54

I didn't have any swedish assests at the time but wrote it to cover them ifyswim.
I've since written a swedish will which covers my UK assets as well as Swedish. Tbh laws on inheritance are quite clear here so i only need it at all because we arent married.

gingerpusscat Sat 25-Feb-17 07:53:12

I see, thanks. I'm confused about whether just having a will drawn up in Australia might mean that DH would be considered intestate in the UK.

PlumsGalore Sat 25-Feb-17 07:56:06

Go into britishexpats.com/forum and ask there, I have seen it asked before in the Oz section, they are super knowledgable.

gingerpusscat Sat 25-Feb-17 08:38:57

Thanks for that Plums I'll do just that smile

DolphinsNose Sun 26-Feb-17 10:49:06

Most Wills are drawn up covering worldwide assets but as Isthistoonosy said, as different countries have different inheritance rules there can be no guarantee it will be effective in those other countries (when drawn up in the uk).

I would suggest either trying to find a solicitor who is versed in both Australian and English inheritance laws as they may say that one will would be sufficient or alternatively prepare two separate Wills; one covering UK assets and another covering worldwide assets other than the UK.

Please don't rely on the DIY will kits as they won't make you think of questions or scenarios you hadn't thought of.

babybarrister Tue 28-Feb-17 11:36:24

you definitely need to take proper advice - Mumblechum on here has done lots of our wills and will be abloe to advise you better - find her on th adverts

CarelessWispas Tue 28-Feb-17 12:06:43

I'm a dual Aussie-Brit. When in Oz I've had 2 wills - 1 UK Will (all assets) 1 Aussie Will (all assets) but only because DH and I had assets in both countries and because I was (and still am for now) UK-domiciled thus subject to UK IHT law..

Since no IHT in Australia, your Aussie Will is not about tax, it's about asset distribution wishes and guardianship of kids, that's all (I'm simplifying, but these are the key areas).

If you've no UK assets and have permanently emigrated I see no reason why you need UK will. Indeed, I'd guess this would not be recommended since it implies intention to repatriate to UK in the future (potentially impacting acceptance of your stated domicile as Australia, and it needs to be accepted as Australian - not UK - in order to take advantage of the 0% IHT applicable in Australia when your estate passes to your DC).

With regard to your DH's future inheritance from UK source whilst he is resident in Australia, any UK IHT tax obligation rests on the executors of the deceased will and is paid as part of the probate process. Beneficiaries residing outside the UK can potentially be asked to pay applicable taxes if countries (eg Germany, Ireland etc) have a gift tax that kicks in (and even then if there's a dual tax agreement this can sometimes be offset against the IHT paid by the estate to HMRC), but to my knowledge this is not part of Australian Tax law at all.

If your DH transfers a large amount of money into an Australian Bank account the ATO will be automatically notified (I assume your tax number is on your bank accounts) and will likely contact you to check the source and to establish that you have not been laundering funds or dodging tax offshore. I'd recommend that you contact them proactively on this point; they can also explain the potential capital gains tax implications of forex movements if you were to keep your inheritance offshore (or onshore in GBP) for some time before converting to AUD (something you may want to do if you believe GBPAUD will reverse its horrifying recent declines!).

I'm not a tax advisor so my advice is based on personal experience only. But I'd most certainly do your own homework before consulting any "International Law/Tax experts" because the only ones I've ever encountered in Oz are incompetent cowboys who will do everything they can to rip you off. The ATO is a very helpful and professional organisation in my opinion...they are happy to advise and use a system that directs you online to the exact part of tax law that answers your question so you can be sure you're getting accurate info.

Good luck. Hope you all live for a very long time grin

gingerpusscat Thu 02-Mar-17 09:49:36

So helpful, thank you. I hadn't even thought there could be tax implications, and will get in touch with the ATO. I've got mumblechums details from another thread, thanks. Right, now to get on and sort this...

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