Brexit and it's impact on estate administration

How the ever-looming Brexit could impact the estate administration process

Aug 6, 2019 4:46:13 PM

Boris Johnson has entered his new reign as the UK’s Prime Minister and is now responsible for leading the country out of the EU on the 31st of October 2019. There is currently a lot of uncertainty surrounding what will happen as a result of Brexit, and whether we’ll be leaving with or without a deal. With all this ambiguity about the inevitable Brexit, it has us questioning how it will impact the legal sector and more specifically, the estate administration process. Read on to find out how the UK’s exit from the EU could affect our industry.

More complications when dealing with overseas assets

Administering overseas assets
is such a big part of what we do at Title Research and we are very aware that the number of estates with overseas assets is continually rising. In today’s society, more people emigrate, buy holiday homes abroad, and own shares in foreign companies.

With the increased number of multinational estates, it has got us wondering whether Brexit will impact how assets held in the EU are dealt with. It is currently unclear as to what will happen but there are concerns surrounding which jurisdictions taxes will apply, who would inherit on intestacy and how assets can be protected from unnecessary tax. Owners of EU assets should stay alert to developments in this area and be ready to update their Will accordingly.

Currency exchange rate fluctuations

Over the last few years, we have seen frequent fluctuations to exchange rates due to economic and political changes. With a new Prime Minister and Brexit imminent, we predict that exchange rates will continue to fluctuate for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the unpredictable nature of the currency market could impact the estate administration process. You could be affected if you need to transfer an inheritance to overseas beneficiaries, repatriate an inheritance from abroad, transfer funds for foreign investments, repatriate proceeds from selling overseas assets, or transfer funds to/from an overseas solicitors’ firm.  

Staying up-to-date with exchange rate developments can help you to get the best return when the proceeds from a legal claim are repatriated, and in return could maximise the value of the estate. Title Research has teamed up with TorFX to offer a solution that will ensure you get the best exchange rate possible. Click here to find out more about our currency transfer service, powered by TorFX.

DIY estate administration could be impacted by travel limitations

If the UK is to leave the EU without a deal, then travel to EU countries could be affected. This could have an impact on Personal Representatives adopting the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach when the estate administration process involves overseas work.

According to “There would be changes if you visit the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and the UK leaves the EU without a deal. … There would be no immediate changes to travel if the UK agrees a deal to leave the EU. The rules would be the same until at least 2020.” The government’s guidance suggests that a UK citizen acting as Personal Representative would be entitled to travel to an EU country for up to 90 days. However, if they needed an extended period, UK residents will likely need to apply for a visa.

The impact on your practice

Businesses are expected to be hit the hardest by the repercussions of Brexit, forcing companies to adapt in a variety of different ways. It looks like the free movement of employees and free trade for goods and services will change.

We advise business owners to keep an eye on the government’s recommendations as to how you can prepare for Brexit before the 31st of October 2019. Click here to find out what guidance is currently available for your company.

At Title Research, we strive to provide timely updates on the latest news and developments within the industry.
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Topics: news, Estate administration, Brexit