If a beneficiary resides outside of England and Wales, The Law Society recommends checking their bankruptcy status before distributing any money to them. If a beneficiary is bankrupt, the inheritance must be disclosed and used to pay off outstanding debts before being passed to the beneficiary. This is a straightforward process to complete for beneficiaries in the United Kingdom, but for the increasing number of beneficiaries residing overseas, this can prove more challenging.
Personal Representatives can be held personally liable if they were to pay out an inheritance to a bankrupt beneficiary instead of their Trustee. Of course, we would hope that honesty would prevail, and a beneficiary would state of their own accord if they are bankrupt. However, how can you be sure without an independent check being made?
By conducting a bankruptcy search, you can avoid distribution to insolvent beneficiaries and ensure that any risk to Personal Representatives is eliminated.
We offer fixed fee global bankruptcy searches for £75, plus VAT and disbursements. Our specialist team can quickly carry out this best practice task for you to protect Personal Representatives from later disputes and will ensure that any debt settlements take a higher priority when the estate funds are distributed. Outsourcing this work to Title Research will save you time, and therefore save the estate money.
Bankruptcy searches vary between jurisdictions; some authorities offer free access to bankruptcy records (for example, New Zealand and Scotland) requiring just a name, address, and date of birth for the search, however, most jurisdictions require a specific court application to be made with certain information (this sometimes includes a release form signed by the beneficiary). This can take a great deal of time to organise, which is where Title Research’s international bankruptcy search service can help. We are experienced in carrying out single searches, or multiple searches in different jurisdictions on the same estate.
It’s important to undertake this work as close to the point of distribution as possible as many overseas bankruptcy searches are only valid on the day the search was carried out.
We recently completed two bankruptcy searches for beneficiaries residing in the Netherlands. Within five working days and for a fixed price, we were able to report to our client that neither beneficiary was bankrupt and that they could pay the legacies without any risk to the Personal Representatives. Our client said, “Thank you very much for a very prompt and efficient service”.
To assist you with paying overseas heirs their entitlement and to maximise the funds paid to beneficiaries, we have partnered with specialist currency provider, TorFX, to save you time and money. They offer excellent exchange rates and fee-free currency transfers. To obtain a free quotation and set up an account please visit the currency transfer page on our website.
These other asset repatriation services may help you if you’re dealing with overseas assets or need to make an international currency transfer.
Our dedicated team of experts are available Monday to Friday between 9am - 5pm to ensure a resolution is achieved smoothly and efficiently.
We offer fixed fee global bankruptcy searches for just £49, plus VAT and disbursements.
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