We are appointed executors by a Will executed in the UK of a person who is non-domiciled in the UK and domiciled in the USA. His assets in the UK are well below the Nil Rate Band but he has substantial assets in the USA. There is no USA Will (as far as we are aware) and all his assets in the USA are being paid out to named beneficiaries under the terms of the investments held as far as we know, but we only have limited information about his USA assets at this stage. We are in contact with the deceased’s next of kin, and beneficiaries under his UK Will and these are his cousins. It has come to light that the deceased has not filed USA tax returns for 2016. The Will makes no reference to jurisdiction. My question is, to what extent are we as executors liable to administer the assets in the USA and file his USA tax returns given that the Will is silent on the extent of the assets it relates to?
This is a complex question! The simple answer is that UK executors do not have a duty to administer non-UK assets but are liable to pay creditors (world-wide), which may affect their liability to file a USA tax return. The latter, though, will also depend on USA law. There are some complex issues regarding the effect of the Will generally which will depend upon the nature of the assets here and the relevant US law (which is determined by State not federal law).
Thanks Richard for your speedy reply!