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Cross-border Administration

Cross-border estate administration refers to the situation where a person's estate has issues arising in more than one jurisdiction. It could be that there is a vacation home in a country other than the one where the person is domiciled. A person can have assets with a situs different from their domicile (a Canadian with US stocks) that trigger foreign tax filing requirements. A person can also be subject to multiple tax systems because of differences in how the rules are applied (Canada taxes based on residency whereas the US taxes based on citizenship  as well as other criteria). There can even be situations where there is a conflict as to which estate succession laws apply.

 

If a person's estate has been carefully planned, these cross-border issues should not pose significant difficulties. It may still be necessary to get probate in more than one jurisdiction or file tax returns in more than one country since basic legal obligations cannot be avoided, but a lack of planning can result in unforeseen delays, extra expense, increased taxes and even litigation in some cases.

 

Where cross-border issues are involved in an estate, Blair advises executors on how to coordinate the Ontario aspects including assisting in arranging for foreign advisors in the relevant jurisdictions. Over the years, Blair has developed connections in various countries such as the US and the UK. Membership in STEP provides further access to foreign estate law advisors.