Jan 2016

Do You Need an International Will?

Legal Advice on International Wills

Do you own property overseas? As technology has made people more interconnected than ever before, the world has become a smaller place. Whether you own a timeshare in Mexico or in interest in land in Italy that has been in your family for generations, it is important to consider legal advice on international assets when you create your estate planning documents.

There are many reasons why it is imperative to make plans for property you own in other countries, including potential tax complications. The United States maintains estate tax treaties with several countries, which means the U.S. has the right to impose estate tax on foreign property. In some situations, this can result in double taxation, where the property is subject to both U.S. estate tax and tax in the other nation.

Making an International Will in the U.S.

If you own property overseas, expert legal advice will recommend you consider an international will. According to the American Bar Association, an international will is a last will and testament that meets the requirements set forth by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, which specifies that an international will should include the following:

  • The will can’t address the assets of more than one person
  • The will must be in writing
  • The will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the will
  • The witnesses must sign in the presence of an authorized person, who must be an attorney
  • All signatures must appear at the end of the will
  • If the will contains more than one page, each page must be numbered and the person making the will must sign each page
  • If the person making the will is unable to sign the will, the will must specify the reason

You can create an international will in the United States and in your home state. This makes it unnecessary to make a separate will in the country where you own property overseas. By having just one will that addresses all your property – both in the U.S. and abroad – you decrease the risk of making wills with conflicting provisions.

Get Legal Advice from a Springfield, Missouri Estate Planning Law Firm

Do you need legal advice or have questions about property you own overseas? We can help you explore all the options available to you. At the Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC, we help people create estate planning documents that provide peace of mind. Call today at (417) 841-2775 to speak to an experienced estate planning lawyer about your case.

This website has been prepared by The Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.