Can British expats still open bank accounts?

There have been some reports of British expats having difficulties with bank accounts. Is it still possible for British expats to open bank accounts?

Can British expats still open bank accounts?Yes.

Generally British expats should follow the ABC rule which allows them to protect and build their wealth.

If you are from a country (A), and you work in another country (B), then you should bank in a third country (C).

The rationale here is to:

  • Ensure that your money is safe and secure. This may not be the case if you bank in the same country in which you work. For instance, the country where you work may have less well established regulations or the government and country itself may be unstable.
  • Ensure that you can hold currency in a multi-currency offshore account. This means that you can deposit earnings and withdraw funds without being subject to FX charges or extra banking charges for international transfers.
  • Allow for easy access to your funds no matter your location.
  • You are not based in the UK, therefore you should not leave your funds exposed to UK taxes in the UK. This is not to say you should not pay UK taxes if you become resident again.

There are many offshore bank accounts available but the best tend to charge low, transparent fees, are domiciled in a trusted jurisdiction with protections (e.g. Isle of Man) and allow for investments and banking on the same online platform.

How do you move abroad?

I’m thinking of relocating, but how do I actually go about moving abroad?

How do you move abroad?Moving abroad can be highly stressful, but it should always be viewed as an opportunity. To make you initial decision, you need to consider your key reasons for leaving your current country of residence and understand if moving abroad will offer you a better solution.

Once you’ve decided to move, regardless of your age, there are a number of things that you must consider and put in place to be able to move abroad, including:

  • Create a list of the key factors behind wanting to move and prioritise the things most important to you when considering where to live
  • Research suitable places you’d like to live, looking at quality of life, employment opportunities, existing expat communities, cost of living and healthcare
  • Identify any visa or entry requirements, such as points systems
  • Talk to family and friends about your options
  • Investigate local customs, language barriers and any cultural barriers to entry
  • Look at financial sustainability, considering any job opportunities, pension requirements and ensure you have a suitable income. Also consider any currency exchange issues you may have
  • Research living arrangements
  • Visit potential places you may like to live in advance
  • Create a list of pros and cons of moving to a particular country
  • Plan your move by using a checklist of the important things you need to do before, during and after your move
  • Move abroad

We have created a very helpful moving abroad checklist which looks at the important things you must remember to do when moving abroad.

What is an “Expat Will”?

I have moved abroad and am now considering how my estate gets distributed when I die and want to create a Will. Is there such a thing as an “Expat Will”?

What is an “Expat Will”?The first important element to answer is that there is no single legal document that is known as an “Expat Will”.

This is because every country has their own laws around how an estate is divided up upon an individual’s death and will also depend on the type of assets held in the estate and where those assets physically exist.

For this reason, it is not possible to create a “one-size-fits-all” Will which will cover you wherever you live. Instead, you will need to get specific advice in your home country as well as your country of residence and any other country in which you have assets (such as property or bank accounts).

However, when creating a Will in each jurisdiction it is important that each Will works in tandem with the other Wills being created to avoid inadvertently overriding a Will written elsewhere.

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