Most of our clients do not live within close proximity to our offices, but whether our clients can come into our offices to meet us, or whether we instead take instructions using telephone, email, the post and Skype, we can advise those with assets in the UK and abroad, on how to:
- structure their wills, so that they are completely valid in all relevant jurisdictions;
- carry out their wishes, in so far as that is possible in the relevant jurisdiction;
- deliver results in a tax efficient way.
We can draft a single UK will to cover a person’s worldwide estate, or alternatively, where appropriate, draft separate wills to cover UK and overseas assets, drawing on our knowledge and contacts from around the world.
Owning assets in more than one jurisdiction inevitably leads to conflicts of law which are not always immediately obvious.
For this reason, and to ensure the accuracy and dependability of our advice, we carefully analyse our client’s circumstances and provide them with a comprehensive, bespoke report before we draft their wills.
In our experience it is not possible for any lawyer to draft a will where there are assets in more than one jurisdiction, without considering all of the following issues. If your lawyer is drafting wills without considering all of the following, you should ask why not?
- Domicile – Common law and civil law definitions.
- Matrimonial Property Regimes (marriage contracts).
- Testamentary Freedom.
- Foreign ‘Forced Heirship’.
- Spousal Rights.
- Conflict of laws / Private International Law.
- Children from previous relationships – the effect on succession (who gets what) and taxation.
- European Regulation 650/2012 (Brussels IV) – where appropriate.
- UK Inheritance Tax Principles.
- Analysis of our clients worldwide assets, liabilities and lifetime gifts.
- Detailed liability to UK Inheritance Tax.
- UK Inheritance Tax Allowances & Exemptions (estate planning opportunities).
- Generic overview of relevant overseas Inheritance Tax regime.
- Double Taxation – including double taxation conventions where appropriate.
- The validity of wills – essential and formal validity in the appropriate jurisdictions.
Once the report is complete we provide this to our clients with a summary, together with recommendations and draft wills.
When our clients are completely happy we provide final copies of the wills for them to sign.