Complications can arise in the administration of an estate when the deceased owns 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 will often be necessary to have the will probated or resealed in the foreign jurisdiction in addition to having it probated in B.C.

Having a will probated outside of B.C. can be cumbersome, costly and it can delay the administration of the estate by several months, sometimes years. If the foreign jurisdiction is governed by civil law, as is the case in Quebec and most European countries, the process to administer an estate is very different.

One way to minimize this difficulty is to execute separate wills in each jurisdiction where a testator owns property. The separate will would only deal with property which is located in that jurisdiction. Another way may be to ensure that the foreign assets are registered in joint names with the beneficiary.

In addition to administrative issues there can be adverse tax consequences when a person dies owning foreign property and it’s important to get tax advice when planning your estate.

Deborah A. Todd