Wills for All Countries
Why Do I Need a Will?
For Your Heirs
Prepare a Will, and a List of Your Assets with identification numbers, so your Heirs can find them and prepare your estate for Probate. Otherwise they’ll have Ann’s dilemma below.
So your assets pass to the Heirs you choose. Without a Will, they pass according to the law where the assets are located and you’ll have John’s dlemma below.
The Importance of a Will – A True Story
John died suddenly at age 71. He did not have a Will or any information about his assets. His niece, Ann, is trying to locate John’s assets and prepare his estate for probate. She’s overwhelmed. John owned stock options with a company in Hawaii and assets in the UK. He might have more. He has a brother, whereabouts unknown, who might inherit the entire estate.
How Many Wills Do I Need?
Follow the Assets
You must have a Will for each country, or USA state, where you own assets. Only a local Court where the assets are located can dispose of the assets. Ex-Pats in Spain normally need two Wills.
We have an USA Attorney, licensed in California, and associate with a Spanish-licensed Attorney, and attorneys in other countries, to draft your Will(s) compliant with the law of the country where you own assets.
Ex-Patriates Living in Spain
If you own property in Spain, from real estate to a bank account, it must be in your Spanish Will. Only a Spanish Court can dispose of these assets and they prefer a Spanish Will. Foreign Wills must be ‘authenticated’; an expensive ordeal for your heirs.
If you own assets in the USA you must have a Will for the state where the assets are located. Only a state court can dispose of these assets – and most do not accept a foreign Will. It’s the same for each country where you own assets – it’s best to have a local Will.
These Heirs inherit as a matter of law; your Will has no effect. In most of Spain, your spouse receives one-half of all the property you acquired during the marriage. And your children receive 25% of your share of the ‘family residence’.
A USA Ex-Pat Advantage Case
Americans in Spain can ask the Spanish Notary to apply the law of their home state when disposing of their Spanish assets. Most US states have ‘free disposition’, so you can give your assets to whoever you want. USA citizen Sam lives in Barcelona and wants to take advantage of this.
Taxes for Your Heirs
In Spain, heirs must pay an ‘inheritance tax’. Sometimes the tax is higher than the value of the assets they inherit. When this happens, the heir must refuse the inheritance and opt out of the will. You can draft your Will, and do things now, to avoid this.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Ready to Draft Your Final Will?
It’s something we don’t like to think about, but it is important. Do your Heirs a huge favor by leaving them a valid Will(s) and a list of your assets; especially if more than one country is involved. They’ll be very grateful. Thanks again for visiting our site.