Complications can arise in the administration of an estate when the deceased person owned real property or other assets outside of B.C. In order to have the property transferred from the name of the estate to the beneficiaries it is often necessary to have the Will probated in the foreign jurisdiction where the property is held in addition to having it probated in B.C. Obtaining probate outside of B.C. can be cumbersome and costly and the process can delay the settlement of an estate by several months, sometimes years.
One way to minimize this difficulty is to execute a separate Will in each jurisdiction where the will-maker owns property. Each separate Will would only deal with property which is located in that jurisdiction. Another option, depending on the survivorship rules in a particular jurisdiction, is to ensure that the foreign assets are registered in joint names with the beneficiary so that the property passes to the survivor and is not subject to probate.
In addition to administrative issues there can be adverse tax consequences when a person dies owning property elsewhere in the world and it’s important to get tax advice when planning an estate that holds foreign assets.
Deborah A. Todd