If you live in the UK but have assets abroad there are a number of things that you need to consider. For example, should your foreign assets be included in a UK Will, and will they be subject to further taxes? Some foreign assets may be more appropriately administered by local experts. In this guide we outline what steps you can take to ensure your assets are protected.
Identify and understand your assets
The first step in protecting your assets abroad is to identify and assess them. These assets may include property, investments, bank accounts, or business interests. Here’s what you need to consider:
- Location: Determine the countries where your assets are located and familiarise yourself with their legal systems and regulations.
- Ownership structures: Understand how your assets are owned. They may be held individually, jointly, or through entities such as companies or trusts.
Seek professional advice
Given the complexities of international asset protection, it is crucial to engage professional advice from solicitors experienced in international estate planning and cross-border assets. They can guide you on the legal and tax implications in both the UK and the relevant foreign jurisdictions.
Consider international estate planning. International estate planning involves creating a comprehensive strategy to protect and manage your assets located abroad. Some important considerations include:
- Wills and testamentary documents: Review and update your wills to ensure they address your foreign assets and comply with the legal requirements of each jurisdiction.
- Tax implications: Understand the tax consequences of owning assets abroad and work with professionals to optimise your tax position.
- Power of attorney: Consider creating a power of attorney document that grants someone you trust the authority to manage your foreign assets on your behalf.
Local legal advice
Engage the services of local legal professionals in the countries where your assets are located. They will have a deep understanding of the local laws and can provide guidance on matters such as property ownership, inheritance rules, and any legal formalities required.
Consider asset protection structures
Depending on the nature and value of your assets, you may need to establish certain structures to protect them, such as:
- Trusts: Consider setting up trusts in the relevant jurisdictions to hold and manage your assets for the benefit of your children and future generations.
- Offshore companies: In some cases, utilising offshore companies can provide additional protection and flexibility in managing and safeguarding your assets.
Regular reviews and updates
As your circumstances and laws change over time, it is important to regularly review and update your international asset protection plan. This ensures that your plan remains effective, reflects your current wishes, and takes into account any changes in tax laws or regulations.
Protecting your assets abroad requires careful planning and consideration. By understanding the nature of your assets, seeking professional advice, engaging local legal professionals, and implementing appropriate structures, you can effectively safeguard your assets.