Are you living abroad with assets in the UK, or based in the UK with assets abroad? Our Private Client team answer your five most frequently asked questions below.
Why do I need a Will if I own assets overseas?
If you do not have a Will, there is a risk that your assets will not pass to the people you want to inherit them upon your death. In many overseas countries, there are forced heirship rules which require a certain portion of your estate to pass to beneficiaries decided by that country. If you have a Will, you can normally provide for your estate to be distributed to those you wish to inherit upon your death.
Why should I have a UK Will?
If you are a UK national, then you can elect for the Law of England and Wales to apply to the distribution of your estate and prevent the forced heirship rules in most countries applying. In Europe, the new European Succession Regulation, known as ‘Brussels IV’, gives you the authority for this action provided an election is made in the Will. It is preferable to have a UK Will for assets situated in the UK so that the Will can be easily admitted to probate in the UK upon your death.
Is it better to have a foreign Will for my foreign assets and UK Will for my UK assets?
There is no fixed answer here as there are too many variables involved and it can depend upon where overseas your assets are situated. For example, if you have assets in Singapore, then the valid form of Will for assets in Singapore is the same as for an English Will. However, if you have assets in Thailand, a foreign Will is only acceptable if it is translated and authorized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and approved by the Thai Courts.
We advise you contact us for specialist advice.
Are there any special rules for the format of the Will?
A UK Will can be hand-written or typed. However, many overseas Wills cannot be typed and either have to be hand-written, or written by a notary public in the country where the assets are situated. If you have a UK Will, many countries will accept that Will for your overseas assets as it complies with the law of England and Wales. It is therefore often easier to have a UK Will.
What is an International Will?
The Washington Convention of 1973 has been adopted by many countries and provides for an International Will format which is universally valid.
For more information regarding International Wills, get in touch with us today.