chair in attic
With immigration being the norm in many countries, and Canada alone welcoming on average 200,000 immigrants and refugees each year, it’s no wonder that many people live separately from their relatives. Living far away from loved ones includes planning for overseas weddings, family reunions and vacations, but unfortunately, it also means dealing with an international inheritance when an immediate family member or a favourite aunt passes away. In addition to sorting out funerals from afar, those acting as executor will need to manage local and international bequests including international inheritance shipments. Here are some of the basics you need to know about handling inheritance international shipments and how Orbit International Moving Logistics Ltd. can help.

For Those Being Left Money

Before you start mailing cheques, you’re best to connect with an accountant or taxation lawyer with specialization in the country of the deceased, and the beneficiaries. For example, you cannot mail more that $10,000 across the US border without notifying the appropriate officials in advance. If you mail more you risk the funds being deemed as fraudulent, being held at the border, and never making their way to the appropriate recipient. Every country has their own unique international estate and tax laws that need to be taken into consideration. Accounting firms that specialize in cross-border tax and estate-planning can help executors and those planning their wills understand tax implications, and can help make an executor’s job seamless when it comes to distributing inheritance money, property, and goods.

Logistics and Fees

It is an executor’s responsibility to arrange the distribution of gifts to the beneficiaries as determined in the will. When everyone is local this is much easier. In addition to making the arrangements the executor needs to plan for the fees required to get these items to their intended new home. As executor you may be asking yourself ‘who pays for the shipping of grandfather’s antique coin collection or grandmas Chanel suit?

Some wills leave explicit instructions about who pays for what and, if this is in the will, the executor must simply follow these guidelines. If there are no instructions it’s best for the executor to determine if an item is a specific or general gift. Normally the cost associated with getting a general gift to the beneficiary belongs to the estate. A general gift doesn’t specifically describe an item and could include “a home”, “a car” or “a piece of artwork”, and doesn’t qualify as a specific gift, even if the person bequeathing items only had one of each item listed. A specific gift is any item on a Memorandum of Personal Effects or hand-made list by the deceased that would include the word “my” in it, for example “my vinyl collection”, “my stamp collection”, “my car”. Unless otherwise decreed in the will, it is generally the beneficiary who pays the costs to get these gifts sent to them.

How Inheritance Shipments Work

Inheritance shipments are simply items that have been acquired by a deceased person. Whether or not duty is paid on these items depends on a variety of factors, including if the person who has passed was a citizen of the country where the goods are being shipped or not, if the goods were ever located in the same home as the person being bequeathed them lived, or if the items (like artwork or antiques) fall under a special provision. All items must be accompanied with the correct paperwork, filled out in full.

The Importance of Expertise

Shipping multiple items to several destinations or even one destination around the world can be complicated and nerve-racking. By hiring experts, such as the team at Orbit International Moving Logistics Ltd., our years of experience ensure all required documentation and detailed shipment inventories are filled out correctly, and that your most valued family items will make it to their intended home quickly and safely.
Orbit International Moving Logistics Ltd.: Your International Moving Expert

We have over a decade of experience moving customers around the world. Some of our customers like us so much, they’ve used us more than once. Why did they come back to Orbit? Our customer service is what sets us apart – customer service representatives answer every question, no matter how small, and our moving crew shows up on time with all the materials they need to get the job done correctly the first time. To learn more about Orbit, call us at 416-661-4228.