For a variety of different reasons, people procrastinate when it comes to the creation of their last will and testament. Certainly, the thought of their own passing is rather morbid and people do not like to focus on any matters that surround such an event. Even those people who could be classified as successful entrepreneurs with a portfolio of diversified assets often shy away from creating this important document. Yet if you truly have diversified over the years and have significant holdings in different countries, it can be more important than ever to approach this the right way. What should you be thinking about if you're still sitting on the fence?
Identifying Foreign Assets
As people grow and want to make the most of their assets and resources, they may decide to purchase property or other holdings in foreign countries. As an alternative, they may decide that they will move away from Australian shores and settle in these lands, while still retaining their original property and other assets "at home." All may be well and good while they are alive, but if they want all of their possessions to pass correctly to family and friends upon their death, they have to approach this situation very carefully.
International law can be very complicated and even though it can be very similar in "westernised" countries, issues can still remain. A will written in Australia may not be valid in other countries when it comes to dealing with property or assets that are held over there. This can become even more problematic in countries that are governed in different ways and where the language and culture can be very diverse.
Careful Document Preparation
It's better to write two separate wills according to the jurisdiction in question. In this way, assets that are physically held in Australia can be covered in the Australian will and overseas elements can be handled in the other will, which is written according to the laws of that jurisdiction. Particular care needs to be taken to make sure that the wording of these documents helps and does not hinder. After all, the initial wording of a will usually seeks to nullify any similar documents that were written prior to the document in question and if not handled carefully, this might cancel a document written to cover assets held in foreign lands.
Doing It Right
Get in touch with a wills and estate lawyer specialising in international affairs and estate planning to make sure that your assets are handled carefully, no matter where they may be.