English Wills and overseas property

Your Will is arguably the most important contract that you will sign in your life - the document under which you give your assets away. It may be possible to have a single Will to cover your worldwide assets.

To be recognised as a Will it must be formally valid in the country in which it is to be used. Many countries have laws in place, or have signed up to international treaties under which foreign Wills, if drafted correctly, will be recognised.

Even if your Will is recognised, it is still very important to check that your wishes can be carried out in the foreign country.

Having a single Will can help to simplify your estate planning in some cases, and can prevent a badly drafted foreign Will from revoking your English one. Having separate Wills for each jurisdiction can be more favourable in other cases, allowing you to take advantage of local estate planning rules, or making an election for English law to apply.

As each person’s situation is different it will depend on your circumstances whether it is better to have one Will or two. An expert cross-border solicitor, such as a member of Stone King’s International Cross-Border (ICB) team will be able to help you choose which option is the best for you.

The law and practice referred to in this article has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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