It would seem that the nature of Will writing does not necessarily accommodate for a globally mobile lifestyle, a lifestyle which is becoming increasingly common and one we help clients to financially negotiate every day.
If you own assets in more than one jurisdiction, it can be difficult to ascertain whether it is more effective to create one ‘all-encompassing’ Will or a Will for each jurisdiction in which assets are held. To add to an already complex financial composition then, there is no clear answer to this dilemma, so it is advisable to consider a number of points with a professional.
Things to consider when writing one Will:
- Is your Will subject to hefty estate and/or Inheritance Taxes in various jurisdictions? If the answer is yes, it may be worth considering whether one Will is able to tackle the intricacies of each tax system and the ways in which tax can be mitigated accordingly.
- What type of law do your jurisdictions fall into? The UK, most commonwealth countries and most of the United States are ‘common law’ jurisdictions, whereas most countries in Continental Europe are ‘civil law’ jurisdictions. Essentially, it is important to consider if your Will can remain effective and fully recognised across all jurisdictions in which your assets are held.
Things to consider when writing multiple Wills:
- How does the EU Succession Regulation affect my Will? For example, if you are able to elect for the law of your nationality to apply to the succession of your assets as opposed to the local laws such as the Spanish ‘forced heirship’, it may be just as effective to write one Will.
- For simple estates, writing multiple Wills may be an unnecessary and time-consuming task.
- Is the up-keep and continual updating achievable on multiple Wills?
- Do the jurisdictions in which your assets are held recognise ‘moveable assets’? This means anything other than land and buildings and can be a reason to use just one Will.
In summary, there are advantages and disadvantages both for writing one Will, or writing multiple Wills for each jurisdiction. Your situation is unique and as such, it is recommended that professional advice is sought when writing a complex Will, so that ultimately, your wishes can be fully recognised and effectively fulfilled. Please do contact us if you would like advice.