Can I make a will that covers assets in different countries

Published 20 Sep 2018

Author: David Cossalter

Making a Will is highly recommended, particularly if a person has substantial assets. But what happens if those assets are tied up in other countries? How do you ensure your beneficiaries receive them while still complying with the laws within each jurisdiction?

Here's everything you need to know.

Concurrent or international: Which Will do you need?

When it comes to preparing your Will, there are two options for Will-makers:

1. Concurrent Will

This option involves preparing a Will for each separate country you have assets in. The top benefit of a Concurrent Will is that it streamlines the administration process when applying for a grant of representation due to there being no potential hold ups from other countries involved.

Furthermore, it ensures your Will is prepared in accordance with the law of the specific country. Imagine if there were disputes with how the Will itself was prepared. How would you know which country's law applied? A Concurrent Will will always be compliant with the country concerned, eliminating this worry.

However, testators can run into trouble when having more than one Will, especially if the Will is prepared without a knowledge of others in different jurisdictions. It is important that separate Wills do not revoke one another.

2. International Will

An International Will is one that is made in accordance with the Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will 1973. The Convention was created to help simplify the formalities of Wills with international characteristics, of which all Australian states and territories comply to. A Will that is made in accordance with the requirements of the Convention will be recognised in other countries that are also party to it.

Although an International Will may be accepted in other party countries, it may not be deemed completely satisfactory or clearly interpretable. This is because laws often differ from the laws of the place where the Will was made.

If you have assets in countries outside of Australia, it's important to seek advice from the experts to ensure your Will is compliant in all aspects. Any mistakes and your assets may not be distributed as you initially desired. Get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today to see how we can help you stay on top of your overseas assets.

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