International Estate Planning

Addressing Global Inheritance With Compassion

Falzon Legal — International Estate Lawyer

In today’s increasingly global village, wills and inheritance cross borders — meaning you need an experienced International Estate Planning solicitor.

Australia’s proud history as an immigrant hub has led to a wonderfully rich and diverse multicultural society. And, with around 30 percent of the nation’s population born overseas — it’s no surprise that a large proportion of residents have strong familial bonds with other countries.

These cross-border ties mean that, inevitably, intercontinental estate planning issues and concerns will arise.

Falzon Legal is your compassionate and experienced International Estate Planning lawyer. Delivering an understanding and professional service, we will diligently address the practicalities of your overseas inheritance interests — while continually conscious that this can be a troubling and emotional time.

The Importance of Professional Overseas Estates Planning

Although wills and estate planning within Australia’s borders can sometimes become convoluted through probate issues or contests and challenges — it’s usually a straightforward process.

However, with international estates, the potential for hiccups and obstacles is magnified.

They can include:

  • Questions of domicile — both of the deceased and the beneficiary.
  • Taxation.
  • Issues of transferring funds and investments to Australia.
  • Consulting and liaising with foreign lawyers and executors.
  • Differing legal processes of overseas countries.

    These possible issues are usually outside of the experience and knowledge of most Australians. This is compounded by the beneficiary having to deal with these complex and often confusing practicalities at a time of immense emotional turmoil.

    Falzon Legal will navigate you carefully and mindfully through the maze of International Trust and Estate Planning — with care, patience, and proficiency.

    Do You Have To Pay Tax on an Inheritance From Overseas?

    Australia has no inheritance tax — unlike many other countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, both with 40 percent taxation (when above the tax-free threshold).

    This means that if you’re a beneficiary of an overseas estate, for liability purposes, it’s treated by the Australian authorities as the same as domestic estate — that is, untaxed.

    However, it’s not always that straightforward.


    The question of where you live, or more correctly, where recognised bodies believe to be your official residence, is crucial.

    While it varies from country to country, in Australia, domicile is typically based upon:

    • Where you consider yourself a resident.
    • The length of time present in the country.
    • Where you work.
    • If you have citizenship.
    • The extent to which you interact and integrate into society.

    Therefore, if you can show Australian domicile, inherited property will not itself be subject to inheritance tax.

    However, if you reside abroad, and are considered domicile in that country — not Australia — you may be subject to any relevant inheritance tax regulations of your home nation.

    On-Going Earnings

    While overseas estate — in most cases — isn’t liable for inheritance tax, any amounts generated by the assets in the future will usually require assessment.

    Most typically this occurs when an individual is bequeathed rental property or business. Although no tax will be paid on the transfer of the investments, funds from letting income and company profits will naturally be subject to the usual appropriate taxes.

    Bear in mind, you may not only be liable for taxes in Australia (as your place of domicile) but also in the country in which the assets are situated. It’s crucial to seek professional advice, as some nations have a DTA (Double Tax Agreement), which requires only the payment of taxation in one country.

    Capital Gains Tax

    Under ATO Capital Gains Tax (CGT) regulations, you are considered to own inherited estate upon the date of death — even if the property, investments, or physical assets don’t actually pass into your ownership until some time later.

    This date is also considered the market value point. Meaning, should you sell any portion of your inheritance — whether a business, investment property, or antiques — at a time in the future, you could be liable for CGT on any gains made over and above the market value point. There are some exclusions, such as inheriting a family home in which you reside.

    Additionally, even transferring cash funds from abroad to Australia can be subject to CGT.

    If, due to exchange rate changes, the amount of money that reaches your Australian current account is greater than that which you would have received if you transferred on the date of death — CGT may be payable on the difference.

    All circumstances are personal and nuanced — therefore, always seek advice from an experienced overseas estate lawyer.

    Allow Falzon Legal To Navigate You Sensitively Through International Estate Planning — Call Today

    Inherited Overseas Assets in Divorce

    Divorce combined with the possible division of inherited overseas estate can be immensely heartbreaking. Not only are you trying to accept the immediate reality of a relationship breakdown, but also coming to terms with losing often personally emotive assets.

    When you separate or divorce, you need to declare an attestation of your financial matters. This includes all physical goods, buildings, cash and investments — including those inherited overseas.

    Generally speaking, a court will regard existing overseas estate as a considerable asset during the settlement process — even if it’s your opinion that the third party has no claim.

    This can be a distressing scenario, as often overseas inheritance — especially property — often has a strong emotional tie to your heritage or family.

    However, there are factors that can affect how the court deals with overseas estate, including:

      • At the point in the relationship you became a beneficiary.
      • Whether the estate was shared or isolated between partners.
      • How the inheritance has been utilised.
      • The original intentions of the deceased.

      With comprehensive experience tackling global estate during divorce — in Asia, Europe, and the UK — Falzon Legal will work tirelessly to deliver the most beneficial outcome for you, while continually providing support, patience, and compassion.

      Falzon Legal — Your Global Estate Planning Lawyer

      International wills and estate planning is slightly more nuanced and complicated than domestic — but the stress, emotional trauma, and sadness are equally as heartfelt.

      The challenge is reconciling the immediate and critical legal practicalities with the ever-present anguish and confusion.

      At Falzon Legal — we support you continuously through both.

      Our unparalleled global estate service ensures you receive the pinnacle in expertise, experience, and knowledge. Working relentlessly in your best interests, we will liaise directly with our overseas peers to achieve the most suitable outcomes.

      Yet always we remain mindful of your emotional pathway — delivering reassurance, patience, and understanding through the most burdensome of circumstances. We cannot take the pain away, but we can make the legal process much more human and considerate.

      Falzon Legal — Parramatta’s Specialist International Estate Lawyer

      As our Maltese Cross logo indicates — Falzon Legal is an International Estate lawyer with genuine worldwide expertise.

      With our founder’s grandfather an Australian immigrant from Malta, it’s unsurprising that we specialise in Maltese inheritance planning. However, dealing habitually with Sydney’s myriad of cultures and nationalities — our scope extends accordingly across the globe.

      While not exhaustive, we have extensive proficiency in:
      Maltese wills and estates
      Portugese inheritance
      Chinese property and bequeathments
      United Kingdom estate and will planning
      European property and investment inheritance

      International Estate Planning FAQs

      Where Can I Find an International Estate Lawyer Near Me?

      Conveniently located in Parramatta, NSW, you can visit our office or we can meet at your choice of destination within an hour’s drive. Alternatively, we also provide online consultations if more preferable or convenient.

      What Is an International Probate Attorney?

      When an individual passes on, their remaining estate needs to be managed and divided — a process known as probate. If the person dies abroad, yet leaves an estate to someone in Australia — this becomes probate of international assets.

      Do I Need To Report Foreign Inheritance?

      If your overseas inheritance is subject to taxation, you must report the estate to the ATO and pay the relevant tax. While there is no inheritance tax in Australia, income from investments can be liable for capital gains.

      So, do I need to declare inheritance from overseas in Australia? Speak to Falzon Legal today for personal advice based on your particular circumstances.

      How Do I Take My Inheritance to Australia?

      Bringing inheritance money into Australia, or introducing physical assets that you later sell, can lead to Capital Gains Tax liabilities. Chat with Falzon Legal for bespoke guidance on this nuanced area.

      Is Inheritance Money From Overseas Taxable in Australia?

      Fluctuating exchange rates can lead to a difference in the original market value on the death date to the time the cash enters Australia — leading to a possible capital gains liability. Chat with Falzon Legal to allow us to navigate you through this nuanced matter.

      Can I Pass My Inheritance to My Child in Australia?

      Yes. Once you are in receipt of your inheritance, and with any necessary duties paid, you may pass this on to your child or children.

      Where Can I Find a Complete International Estate Planning Guide?

      You’ve found it! If this page doesn’t answer all your questions, please get in touch with us!

      All circumstances are different. Therefore, it’s crucial to receive personally tailored advice on overseas estate planning.

      For Expert and Compassionate International Estate Planning — Speak to Falzon Legal