Probate Advice Line
An estate with an overseas holiday home and shares
Jane Jones owned a holiday home in France and had a Euro bank account. She also had a substantial share portfolio including Schweppes plc. However, before Jane died, Cadbury Schweppes had split into two new companies: Cadbury plc (listed on the London Stock Exchange) and Dr Pepper Snapple Inc., listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Cadbury plc was subsequently bought by Kraft Foods Inc., also listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Jane's Will said that her assets were to be sold by her Executors and the proceeds paid to her beneficiaries. Whereas this is fairly straightforward where assets such as property and shares are in the UK, it is more challenging when the assets are overseas.
How we solved it
In our experience, a holiday home in a foreign country almost always means a local currency bank account there too. Our Case Manager liaised with our legal agent in France to transfer the property into the name of the Executors and then subsequently sold it. At the same time, we dealt with our US share transfer agent and other US authorities such as the Internal Revenue Department (IRS) to complete the paperwork needed to sell the Kraft Foods and Dr Pepper Snapple shares.
Why it mattered
It's important to identify overseas assets early on and get the process started early. Overseas assets can cause delay in the distribution of an estate if time is not factored in at the start for the extra paperwork involved in dealing with foreign legal and tax systems.