You may have heard that it is always a mistake to have multiple wills – and this is true if you are a United States citizen who does not have foreign property or assets. However, this rule does not apply to those who may split their time between different countries and who may own property abroad. In fact, having multiple wills when you have ties to more than one country could be enormously beneficial to you and your beneficiaries.
Why Multiple Wills in Multiple Countries?
Very simply, all countries have differing laws when it comes to estate planning, inheritance, wills, and trusts. For example, while the United Kingdom has living trusts, France does not. If you only have one will, it is doubtful that all aspects of the document will be valid in both countries, or that the legal language in the document translates clearly. This could lead to a large number of legal complications, a lot of red tape, and possible double taxation. It could also mean that your wishes for your assets and your beneficiaries won’t come true despite your estate planning.
Finding an Estate Planning Expert Abroad
Even the very best international estate planning attorneys can’t possibly know all of the estate tax laws, property laws, and inheritance laws of hundreds of other countries. At The Law Office of Janet Brewer, we believe that the best solution to helping our international clients is connecting them with an experienced, knowledgeable estate planner in the country where they hold property or assets.
We are members of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), an international organization of almost 20,000 estate planners in almost 100 different countries. All members are subject to an extensive code of professional conduct and ethical standards. When one of our clients needs international assistance, we use our STEP network to find a reliable, skilled, and qualified attorney, whether in South Africa, Italy, Bermuda, Israel, or Canada. We work closely with this international lawyer to make sure all aspects of your estate plan are complete, valid, clear, and legal. If more than one will is needed, both wills should compliment each other and contain careful coordination. It is absolutely vital that one will does not revoke the other.
International Estate Planning With Janet Brewer
We have assisted individuals with property in a wide range of countries make certain that their estate planning is complete, valid, and clear. To learn more about international estate planning in California, or to schedule a meeting with one of our skilled attorneys, please call The Law Office of Janet Brewer today: (650) 325-8276.