Use of foreign Wills
Produced in partnership with Russell-Cooke Solicitors
Use of foreign Wills

The following Private Client practice note Produced in partnership with Russell-Cooke Solicitors provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Use of foreign Wills
  • Separate Wills in various jurisdictions
  • Applicable law
  • EU Succession Regulation
  • Matrimonial Property Regimes
  • Laws of Administration
  • Recognition in the UK of a Will made in foreign form

Many individuals have international connections that need to be considered when advising on succession planning. For example, they may have been born outside England and Wales or have acquired assets in foreign jurisdictions. These connections are likely to change over time and so it is essential to review the position regularly and particularly if the individual’s circumstances change.

Separate Wills in various jurisdictions

It has been traditional to advise clients to execute a separate Will in each jurisdiction in which assets are held to avoid practical problems of having to wait for the proving process in another jurisdiction to be completed and to avoid the necessity for notarised translations and difficulties over Affidavits of Law.

However, this may not be the best advice in all circumstances. When advising clients, a number of key questions should be asked of a client including:

  1. Where is it wished to establish domicile? Will it help if the main Will is made there?

  2. Will the foreign jurisdiction (eg Switzerland) prefer to see one Will made in a form from the law of the deceased's habitual residence?

  3. If a choice of succession law is to be made, does this need to relate to the client’s worldwide estate?

  4. Will the foreign jurisdiction insist on seeing the UK grant/Will in any event?

  5. Will the Probate Registry insist on seeing the foreign grant/Will in any event?

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