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Where Taxpayers and Advisers Meet

Father domiciled in France but left an account in the UK

timeyre
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:53 pm

Father domiciled in France but left an account in the UK

Postby timeyre » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:24 pm

Hi,

My father passed away earlier this month. He was domciled in France (lived, worked and retired there for 40 years, married to a French woman has a French son and step son, once yearly visits to the UK to see grandchildren). He left an account in the UK with £47k in which was left to him by his mother when she dies 6 years ago. He was waiting for the Euro to climb before transferring it to France.

Since this would appear to be a simple case I decide to handle it myself, although my 3 calls so far to HMRC have resulted in me getting sent 3 different forms:
PA1 - tells me to fill in form IHT207
IHT207 - Q3 clearly states to fill in form IHT400
IHT400 - Q6 says to fill in form IHT401 also
IHT401 and IHT400 are asking me questions about my fathers house (not sure if it was his, his wife's, jointly owned or rented) in France and pension. I'm sure his worldwide estate was less than £325k but I am concerned I am being asked about things ouside HMRC jurisdiction. I dont really want to ask my step mother whose house it is and how much it is worth, but I also dont want HMRC to take her house off her either.

My question is - which forms do I need to fill in to get Letters of Administration so I can transfer the £47k into my step mothers account? And do I really need to call my step mother to ask about her financial affairs in detail?

Many many thanks for any help you can give.
Tim

pqtaxation
Posts: 353
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:38 pm

Re: Father domiciled in France but left an account in the UK

Postby pqtaxation » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:55 pm

Hi Tim

I believe that your process in UK is unfortunately not as simple as just your completing IHT forms 400/401 to get letters of administration so as to allow you to administer the UK bank account.

But I have only been involved in one case similar to yours. I believe the UK probate registry will want proof that the French authorities confirm your father was resident there and died intestate. In essence, the French equivalent of their letters of administration have to be “re-sealed” in UK as though they were a will. I used an Anglo/French solicitor, who has carried out the UK process many times, for advice and liaison over getting/translating French paperwork/certification though I completed all the UK forms; but even so their bill was around £500 +VAT from memory (though UK assets were rather more than £47k). If you want to send me a private message I can provide you with that solicitor’s name and an introduction.

Your stepmother in France or her adviser should be able to tell you the approximate value of your father’s worldwide estate for form IHT401; entering his UK national insurance no. on IHT form 400 should will help HMRC confirm the information on his life history you enter on the form 201; the asset value you enter on Form 400 will be only for UK situated assets – that is the one bank account valued at about £47k.

The above is base on my understanding as follows of your initial summary of the circumstances: your father was domiciled an resident in France and died intestate (leaving no will in either France or UK); was married to French national (your stepmother) and had two sons of the blood (you and a stepbrother); only UK asset was one bank account in his sole name containing about £47k.

Hope the above helps to give you an initial leg up and that your relationship with your step mother is cordial at a difficult time.

riccardob
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 10:02 am

Re: Father domiciled in France but left an account in the UK

Postby riccardob » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:27 pm

I am not a tax adviser but you say your father is non uk domiciled.

I would be worried that HMRC are asking questions about his house in France. If he is not UK domiciled HMRC should not be enquiring about
assets located overseas as they would not fall under UK IHT anyway.

Are they fishing with the purpose of trying to argue that your father is UK domiciled?

maths
Posts: 7966
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:25 pm

Re: Father domiciled in France but left an account in the UK

Postby maths » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:41 pm

If your father has
never
been domiciled in the UK then his estate qualifies as an "excepted estate" in which case IHT 205 should be completed.

It is not clear from your posting although it does seem to suggest that at sometime he was UK domiciled?

pqtaxation
Posts: 353
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:38 pm

Re: Father domiciled in France but left an account in the UK

Postby pqtaxation » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:50 pm

I am not a tax adviser but you say your father is not UK domiciled.
I would be worried that HMRC are asking questions about his house in France. If he is not UK domiciled HMRC should not be enquiring about assets located overseas as they would not fall under UK IHT anyway.
Are they fishing with the purpose of trying to argue that your father is UK domiciled?
I'd guess you’ve got yourself ahead of the actuality here.

It’s for OP (tim eyre) to confirm but my reading of his query is that he has not yet made any submission to HMRC/probate registry and so has had no response from them. His father died only earlier this month and as a first step Tim is asking in his OP for help about what are the correct UK forms to submit and how to fill in them in on the assumption that his father was not UK domiciled. Whether HMRC will agree to that assumption remains be seen and they may make enquiries –as they are perfectly entitled to do- which will obviously be helped if father’s NI number can be shown on IHT400 to confirm that there have been no UK earnings for about 40 years. However as OP indicates his father’s worldwide estate is likely to be less than £325k and under both French or UK intestacy law a large proportion will pass to surviving spouse, HMRC should not look to raise any queries over domicile as no IHT is payable.

What I suspect confuses OP is that IHT 400 asks for details of assets in worldwide estate; but in this case non-UK (French) domicile is claimed and so the value of only UK situs assets should be included. OP wrote that his father died intestate but from my very limited knowledge of such circumstances (one case only) I seem to recall the UK authorities will want sight of the foreign (French) letters of administration before agreeing to issue UK letters of administration - but I know a probate solicitor in England who does such Anglo/French intestate work regularly and who in addition could advise on the completion of the IHT401 to support the contention that France had become the father’s domicile of choice many years ago.
If your father has never been domiciled in the UK then his estate qualifies as an "excepted estate" in which case IHT 205 should be completed.
It is not clear from your posting although it does seem to suggest that at sometime he was UK domiciled?
My reading of OP was that father had a UK domicile of origin, had lived in UK until adulthood (probably marrying and OP Tim was son of that marriage), on the ending of that marriage had moved to France some forty years ago and had married a French national with whom he had a second family.


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