International Inheritance and doing money transfers
Once you have completed administration of all of the assets and dealt with all of the tax and other issues on an estate you then might face the problem of how to actually transfer money to a beneficiary resident outside of Canada. The wire transfer procedure will vary depending on which financial institution you use. Some will require double or multiple signatures on fax authorization documents. Others, with online cash management systems, will require duplicate approvals, often required to be on separate computers, with unique users and different passwords and logins.
Perhaps, most importantly, to transfer an international inheritance by wire you will need a SWIFT code designating the receiving bank branch. You will also need the name, address, and account number of your beneficiary and the name, address, and branch number of the receiving bank. SWIFT Codes are also called BICs and can be either 8 or 11 characters long.
What is a SWIFT code? The acronym SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. This organization has been designated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as the bank registration authority pursuant to ISO 9362. SWIFT codes (also called BIC or Bank/Business Identification Codes) are used when transferring money between banks, particularly for international wire transfers. You should also be aware of the term International Bank Account Number (IBAN) pursuant to ISO 13616, as in the Eurozone, you’ll always need an IBAN and a SWIFT code. IBAN consists of up to 34 alphanumeric characters comprising: a country code; two check digits; and a number that includes the domestic bank account number, branch identifier, and potential routing information. Banks in the USA use SWIFT codes, but they don’t use IBANs. There are 35 countries in the extended Eurozone which are also within the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) which require IBAN numbers.
You will face other issues as well when doing an international money wire transfer, among which are what currency to transfer. Canada dollars or US dollars or Euros? What is the exchange rate and how will this be reflected in the amount received? What fee will your bank take for doing the transaction and will this fee amount be shown separately or taken off the funds transferred? What fee will be taken by the receiving bank? Is the receiving account able to receive the money in the currency sent or are there local restrictions? Are there issues with the receiving bank being sanctioned and subject to special restrictions?
One should take care with the transfer of money by wire internationally, which can be complicated and time consuming. But, the potential transfer of large sums of money into an incorrectly designated bank account is an error best avoided.
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