It’s not uncommon these days for people to have assets in another country (for example, a holiday home in France).
If you make a Will in the UK, it might not apply in the way you wish to the assets you have abroad – or, depending on where in the world you own assets, your Will might not be valid there at all.
Some countries also have “forced heirship” laws – which means that certain of your relatives are entitled to a share of your assets – whether you like it or not (and regardless of what your Will says).
Even if you don’t have assets abroad, you might have other international links – you might be a citizen of another country, or have lived and worked abroad for a while – or be considered “domiciled” abroad (domicile is a fairly complex legal concept). In these cases, some quite unfortunate and unexpected issues can easily arise – for example, there are circumstances in which another country’s laws may actually apply to your assets in the UK (such as bank accounts) – irrespective of the contents of your Will.
The law relating to international succession, the validity of Wills across international borders, and the application of different countries’ inheritance taxes, is hugely complex.
What are the options?
If there’s any international element to your affairs whatsoever, the important thing to remember is not to make any assumptions at all – because of the range of potential issues that could arise, individual expert advice is always the best option.
How can we help?
When you instruct us, we’ll ask a few questions to determine the sort of international issues that may apply to you; we’ll consider these issues as part of your Wealth Check. This will allow us to provide you with some general advice, and options for any relevant specific advice you might benefit from.