Having Assets in two different countries
At a recent Q&A held by www.expatlegal.com regarding holding assets in two different countries, the general public were mainly concerned about having assets in two different countries and how this might affect them. Below you can see the post that caught our eye and it is a scenario which may be relevant to you. We would like to give our expert opinion on what to do.
"I am retired in Thailand, lived all over the place so I have assets in numerous countries and I wish to update my Will. On talking with a local lawyer he told me he can establish a Will in Thailand to cover my assets here but I will need to do separate ones for other countries.
As a UK citizen, I now reside here in Thailand, I want to make a Will which will be effective both here and there. Any ideas about how to go about it? Does it require two separate documents to cover assets in both places?."
Any person can make an international Will, saying to whom or how they wish their estate to be distributed. However, the assets contained within the estate will always be subject to the relevant legislation/taxes of the country in which they are situated.
The basics of a Will are pretty much the same in any jurisdiction in the world. The document needs to identify the person making the Will, describe the distribution of the estate, and be signed in the presence of two witnesses. It should also ideally name an executor or estate administrator to carry out the instructions in the Will.
If a Last Will and Testament is that simple, you would think that a Will written in any jurisdiction would be accepted in any other jurisdiction, but unfortunately things are not as simple as that.
With every jurisdiction having slightly different laws, there was an attempt in 1973 to harmonize estate planning law with the creation of an “International Will”. Under the “Convention providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will” or the “Washington Convention” a set of minimum requirements was established for a legally accepted Will through the Uniform International Wills Act. The idea being that any Will written that complies with these minimum requirements, would be accepted by any jurisdiction that signs up to the convention.
These three criteria will have to be met for this procedure to be valid
• The Will needs to be in writing, although it will not matter what language it is written in.
• The testator/testatrix will need to declare in the presence of two witnesses and a person authorised to act in connection with international Wills, (a solicitor or a notary public), that the document is his or her Will, and that he or she knows what the contents of the document are.
• The testator/testatrix will normally need to sign the Will in the presence of the two witnesses and the authorised person or, if he or she has previously signed it, he or she will need to acknowledge his or her signature in the presence of the two witnesses and the authorised person.
Our trained consultants can discuss your current circumstances and recommend the products that will provide the correct protection for you, your family and your assets. For peace of mind, contact The Will Associates today or call us on 0800 9500 700, to arrange a free appointment with one of our trained consultants, at a time convenient to you and your family, in the comfort of your own home.