Inheriting money from overseas
Your options for transferring an inheritance to Australia.
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If you’ve been left an inheritance from overseas, unless otherwise stated, you don’t need to pay any tax on it. Instead, you should focus on getting the best rate for the international money transfer. You have three options when transferring money to Australia.
Options for transferring an inheritance to Australia
Bank cheques and bank transfers are the most common ways to inherit money from overseas, but using an international money transfer company is another option to consider.
Commonly, the executor of the overseas estate will give you a bank cheque that you can deposit in your Australian bank account. The cheque should be made out in the foreign currency and will be subject to the exchange rate your bank offers when you deposit the cheque.
Compared to the other international transfer methods discussed on this page, a bank cheque takes the longest time to clear.
You can also arrange for the estate executor to deposit your inheritance directly into your Australian bank account.
An international bank transfer is quicker than waiting for a cheque to clear, but the money transfer will still be subject to the bank’s exchange rate.
International money transfer company
Another option is to use an international money transfer company. These companies specialise in foreign exchange and provide a bank-beating rate.
Although there are a few extra steps involved in setting up an account with an international money transfer company, depending on the amount being sent, you could save thousands of dollars.
Which international money transfer company should I use?
Use the comparison table to find out which international money transfer company is going to give you the best rate. You can enter the amount you’re set to inherit and select the currency you wish to convert.
Click the table heading to sort the international money transfer companies by features such as the exchange rate, transfer time and transfer fee.
The "Rate" and "Amount Received" displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.
Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention "Finder" before you commit to a brand.
The steps to take when setting up an account with an international money transfer company
Receiving a bank cheque or bank account deposit is convenient, but your inheritance will go further if you use the services of a foreign exchange specialist.
You can set up an account in a couple of simple steps.
Once you fill in your personal details on the money transfer company’s website, you will be contacted by a customer service representative to confirm your identification and discuss your international money transfer needs.
Overseas inheritance and taxes
Unlike countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, Australia does not have a gift or inheritance tax. You don’t need to pay tax on inheritances or gifts given to you from a person living overseas, or in Australia.
There’s an exception if the estate executor has told you that you’ll need to pay tax. It’s advisable to seek professional advice in this instance.
If there is a tax due in an overseas country, it will be paid from the estate and obligations will be settled before the money is transferred to your Australian account. For example, an estate can still generate an income after death.
Investing inheritance in Australia
If you invest your inheritance in Australia, for example, in a savings account, property or shares, you’ll need to pay tax on any capital gains under Australia’s Capital Gains Tax (CGT) laws.
Did you know?
Austrac monitors international money transfers to Australian bank accounts from overseas.
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