Q&As

Where a testator has assets in the UK and real property in France and wishes English law to apply to their worldwide estate, should they make separate English and French Wills (both electing English law to apply under the EU Succession Regulation) or is it preferable to have just one Will covering all the assets?

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Produced in partnership with Lynne Counsell of 9 Stone Buildings
Published on LexisPSL on 30/10/2017

The following Private Client Q&A produced in partnership with Lynne Counsell of 9 Stone Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a testator has assets in the UK and real property in France and wishes English law to apply to their worldwide estate, should they make separate English and French Wills (both electing English law to apply under the EU Succession Regulation) or is it preferable to have just one Will covering all the assets?

Where a testator has assets in the UK and real property in France and wishes English law to apply to their worldwide estate, should they make separate English and French Wills (both electing English law to apply under the EU Succession Regulation) or is it preferable to have just one Will covering all the assets?

The specific issue is whether the testator should make separate English and French Wills (both electing English law to apply) or whether it is preferable to have one Will covering all the assets.

The election for English law to apply under any Will or Wills would be made under Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 (the Succession Regulation) known as Brussels IV which applies to deaths on or after 17 August 2015. The aim of the Regulation is to simplify and unify succession law and the administration of cross-border estates when individuals die with assets in more than one EU Member State. See our Practice Note: Will drafting—applying the EU Succession Regulation for more information.

The UK has not signed up to the Succession Regulation but it is still relevant if any property is owned in France. Where the Regulation applies, on the death of an individual, the law applicable to the succession of their estate is the law of the country where that individual was habitually resident at the time of their death.

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