Most, if not all WillPack members come across clients with assets abroad at some stage during their estate planning career. When this happens, the most important questions you can ask is, ‘what assets do you have overseas?’ and ‘do you have a Will in the respective country?’
If a client has real estate abroad, it is important the client is advised to seek advice in the country the property is situated in and seek a Will to deal with the estate in this country, if they have not done so already.
In the case of the client not having a Will in that country at the time of making the UK Will, WillPack can prepare Wills to deal with Worldwide assets. This ensure that the client has a Will that can be brought forward to foreign courts to consider the terms of the Will. However, it must be noted that we cannot guarantee that any overseas courts will allow the terms of a UK Will to take precedent over their own succession laws. Some countries have forced heirship whilst others do not recognise the use of Trusts. When the clients are advised to seek a Will abroad, and this is after they have signed the UK Will, they should also be advised to ensure the Will overseas does not revoke the Will they have signed in the UK.
If the clients do have a Will overseas, WillPack must be informed of this as soon as possible. Should WillPack prepare a Will that revokes all other Wills, this will also include Wills abroad. We must therefore ensure this does not happen by limiting the jurisdiction of the Will to the UK only, or worldwide except for the countries in which the client already has a Will.
All of this applies to immovable assets such as real estate. If the clients only have movable assets such as bank accounts, then the UK Will would be able to distribute these assets without any issues. It would be advisable that the executors of the Wills are made aware of these assets at the time of making the Wills.