Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

Estate planning and wills for US residents with UK assets

Estate planning and wills for US residents with UK assets

Old Nov 9th 2021, 1:46 am
  #1  
BE Enthusiast
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Los Angeles Ca
Posts: 372
angelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond repute
Default Estate planning and wills for US residents with UK assets

I moved to the USA almost 20 years ago now. I still have a few assets in the UK (rental property mostly). I have now finally made a USA will and trust and need to do the same in the UK. Has anyone done this and any advice? From all that I have heard it's best to have a UK will or trust to cover UK assets and a completely separate one for the US. As long as the UK will is clear about any conflicts and only expresses wishes for UK based assets/property this seems the way to go.
Likewise I plan to have my brother in the UK be my executor there and US based relative be the executor/trustee here. Does anyone have a recommendation for a solicitor experienced in these sort of wills and situations. From what I can tell probate (in a well documented and managed estate) is way cheaper in the UK than the US. My father's probate was a few hundred pounds I think vs in the US it's a %age of the entire estate which can be huge. For this reason it seems that trusts are vastly more popular in the US to avoid these huge probate costs.
angelman is offline  
Old Nov 9th 2021, 8:15 pm
  #2  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 3,277
durham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Estate planning and wills for US residents with UK assets

I don’t know the answer but am interested in the responses. Every will I have seen includes wording along the lines of “this is my last will and testament”. I didn’t know you could have multiple wills in different countries.
durham_lad is offline  
Old Nov 12th 2021, 8:42 pm
  #3  
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Dec 2002
Location: texas
Posts: 864
jjmb has a reputation beyond reputejjmb has a reputation beyond reputejjmb has a reputation beyond reputejjmb has a reputation beyond reputejjmb has a reputation beyond reputejjmb has a reputation beyond reputejjmb has a reputation beyond reputejjmb has a reputation beyond reputejjmb has a reputation beyond reputejjmb has a reputation beyond reputejjmb has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Estate planning and wills for US residents with UK assets

There is no need for 2 wills as the UK will recognize a foreign will in accordance with the country you are living in when you die. Scotland has slightly different inheritance laws but they will also recognize a foreign will.
From a quick internet search: In accordance with provisions of the Wills Act 1963, for all deaths occurring after 1 Jan 1964, a foreign Will may be considered valid in England and Wales if it was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the national law of the country in which it was executed or if it was prepared in accordance with the national law requirements of the country of which the testator, either at the time of execution of the Will or at the time of his death, was a national, had a habitual residence or domicile of.
We were also told this by the attorney who drew up our wills. We have old UK wills still which were brief and to the point, 3 pages long. The USA one is a booklet!


Last edited by jjmb; Nov 12th 2021 at 8:46 pm.
jjmb is offline  
Old Nov 14th 2021, 8:53 pm
  #4  
 
lansbury's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukie, Oregon
Posts: 9,819
lansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Estate planning and wills for US residents with UK assets

My wife and I each have one (USA) will, with an executor in both the US and UK. It was drawn up by a lawyer here who assured us it was legally acceptable and binding in both countries.
lansbury is offline  
Old Nov 19th 2021, 6:03 pm
  #5  
BE Enthusiast
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Los Angeles Ca
Posts: 372
angelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Estate planning and wills for US residents with UK assets

A will is one thing but a trust is perhaps another. If I die in the US and had a US only will (no trust) then presumably any properties in the UK would have to go through the US probate process which I would think could get tricky. On the flip side, putting UK properties into a US trust might also be difficult. Not sure a UK trust would be recognised easily in the US or vice versa. From what I can understand, probate in the US is vastly more expensive than the UK (a % of the total estate vs a more fixed amount - assuming a straightforward or well documented estate). For this reason trusts are far more popular in the US than the perhaps the UK.
angelman is offline  
Old Nov 19th 2021, 9:38 pm
  #6  
BE Commentator
 
S Folinsky's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 7,895
S Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Estate planning and wills for US residents with UK assets

Originally Posted by angelman View Post
A will is one thing but a trust is perhaps another. If I die in the US and had a US only will (no trust) then presumably any properties in the UK would have to go through the US probate process which I would think could get tricky. On the flip side, putting UK properties into a US trust might also be difficult. Not sure a UK trust would be recognised easily in the US or vice versa. From what I can understand, probate in the US is vastly more expensive than the UK (a % of the total estate vs a more fixed amount - assuming a straightforward or well documented estate). For this reason trusts are far more popular in the US than the perhaps the UK.
I’ve been following this thread with some interest. I would suggest you not “presume” anything. Do note that a US attorney and a UK solicitor can coordinate with each other to insure that your wishes are complied with post-mortem..

FWIW, even though I had a law degree and had an active law license at the time, we hired a California lawyer to set up our estate distribution. Even within the United States, it can get complicated when there is real property in different states. Also, one elderly California relative relocated to New Jersey prior to death and that was messy with four states involved.

(BTW, use of inter vivos trusts in the US is not just to avoid executor fees. Back when I was a law student, I learned that the doctrine of “merger” worked against revocable inter vivos trusts. My understanding is that this is still the law in the UK. This falls under the general rubric of “conflicts of law.” And conflicts can often be a tricky arena to navigate.)

Last edited by S Folinsky; Nov 19th 2021 at 9:40 pm.
S Folinsky is offline  
Old Nov 23rd 2021, 5:56 am
  #7  
BE Enthusiast
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Los Angeles Ca
Posts: 372
angelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond reputeangelman has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Estate planning and wills for US residents with UK assets

Not quite sure I understand all of your reply. I can only say that both UK solicitors and US lawyer highly recommend having a separate will or trust in each country only detailing the items in that country with separate executors ideally that live in the respective countries. I am sure there all sorts of possibilities and permutations though. I will absolutely have any UK solicitor I use talk to the US lawyer to ensure everything is coordinated and there are no conflicts. I think these kinds of arrangements are only/mostly relevant when there is real property abroad which one might not want included in a US trust
angelman is offline  
Old Nov 23rd 2021, 9:30 am
  #8  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 3,277
durham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond reputedurham_lad has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Estate planning and wills for US residents with UK assets

Very interesting thread. Fortunately we don’t own property in the USA but do have brokerage accounts where we have beneficiaries set up.

one thing I’m not sure of is UK inheritance tax, which exempts retirement accounts such as SIPPs when calculating the value of the estate. Does an IRA count as a retirement account in the eyes of HMRC?
durham_lad is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.