It is not unusual these days for people to acquire assets in different countries (or Australian states) or with the ease of modern travel for them to live, work or die in differing countries (or states).
In such circumstances, on a person’s death, the administrator of their estate may be faced with numerous questions and issues to address, such as:
- Which law actually applies?
- If there is a Will in place, does it cover assets in all locations or just one?
- Do I need a Grant of Administration in a foreign country or inter-state?
- If so how do I practically obtain it and where should I apply in first?
- Do I need to do the ground work or can I appoint an attorney in the foreign country or inter-state?
- Are there forced inheritance rules in a foreign country that I need to consider?
As a starting point, consideration needs to be given to where the deceased was actually domiciled and what is the nature of the assets they owned. For example, are you dealing with an “immoveable” asset such as real property or a “moveable” asset such as personal effects or cash?
As a Grant of Administration is only effective within the jurisdiction in which it is granted, in some circumstances multiple Grants will be required (that is one in Queensland and one in another country or state).
Depending on the particular country or state that you are dealing with it may be possible to obtain what is called a “reseal” of an original Grant, rather than make a fresh application in the second location.
Of course, it is useful for a person to contemplate such issues in advance if possible by ensuring their Will is professionally drafted to address assets in multiple jurisdictions and provide clarity to those left behind administering their estate after their death.
Our Future Planning team are experienced in:
- drafting Wills that deal with assets in multiple countries;
- estate administration dealing with multiple jurisdictions;
- obtaining Reseals of foreign or inter-state Grants in Queensland; and
- obtaining assistance through our network from lawyers in foreign countries.