When a foreign resident who lives abroad passes away in a country in The Americas or overseas, and leaves no will, trust or a testament with instructions on how to pass-on property or assets [intestate inheritance]; or when that deceased person dies in another country other than where they legally reside but they leave a will or a testament, it becomes necessary to file an international intestate or a testamentary succession in order to probate that deceased person’s estate.
This is when it becomes necessary to involve foreign inheritance lawyers. Since the decedent-person appears to have left no instructions on how to distribute their property and assets -this is called intestacy or intestate succession/inheritance- a foreign court system must be involved to abide by the general probate rules to transfer that estate to its rightful heirs and creditors with all its assets according to a foreign country’s probate and succession laws. All heirs and creditors will have to seek foreign legal counsel in order to claim the portion that they are eventually entitled to recover.
When a decedent dies leaving a will, a trust, or a formal testament the rules to follow their inheritance will be different from a non-testamentary estate. This is true as long as the deceased person has not contradicted any general rules of the country’s inheritance laws. Basically, a federal judge should confirm whether this testamentary document is valid and enforceable in the corresponding country.
Otherwise, the testament becomes null and void. The general intestacy rules will be the ones to apply by the foreign court of law. In cases such as these, the heirs will recur to succession litigation to inherit what’s theirs.
Estate Litigation worldwide can be an unpleasant experience for someone not used to litigation. Mainly because it consumes the heir’s funds and precious time. However, our firm always recommends this stage to be an absolute last recourse. Mediation and “out of court settlements as well as negotiation” are always our firm’s usual course of action. Otherwise, our firm has a proven record of success regarding Estate, Probate, and Succession’s Litigation in the Argentine Republic.
Foreign Inheritances will always have tax implications which may include local or domestic consequences or even be of foreign or international nature with more than one tax authority such as one from Latam such as AFIP, DGI or Hacienda and the Internal Revenue Service in the United States of America (IRS-USA) or the HMRC-UK (Honorable Majesty, Revenue & Customs with the United Kingdom) or Canada’s Revenue Agency just to mention a few. Some countries share International Tax Treaties in terms of double taxation with countries in South, Central, and Latin America. However, this doesn’t happen with most countries. Thus, a local and licensed tax lawyer, a CPA, or even a local tax preparer may provide sound advise regarding these matters.