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Do I need a UK and a foreign Will?

Mar 3, 2017

This is a complex question, with a complicated answer, but if you have assets abroad such as a holiday home, it’s vital that you seek legal advice about your estate here in the UK and your assets abroad.

You will need to make a Will here in the UK and make another Will in the country where you have assets. But that’s not the end of the story. You have to be really careful that the Will you make abroad does not revoke your English Will.

Back in 2015, a new piece of legislation was passed in the EU called Brussels IV. This legislation relates to the succession of your estate and allows you choose which law you want to apply to your whole estate. All EU member states, apart from the UK, Ireland and Denmark have to apply their choice of law when making their Will.

Because the UK is not bound to Brussels IV, English law will still apply to your assets in the UK even if you’ve not decided which law you want to apply to your assets abroad. But if you don’t make a Will abroad, in the country you have assets, or you don’t add to your non-English Will which law you want to apply, the law in that country will apply to your assets instead.

This can have some very real implications for your family as inheritance will be payable at different rates in different countries and a spouse may not inherit the entire estate tax free, as they would here under English law.

If you already have a Will here in the UK, you’ll need to get this reviewed along with any Will you have made abroad. This will allow you to include, if necessary, a choice of which law you want to apply to both your estate here in the UK and any assets you have abroad.

It’s unclear how Brexit will affect this legislation at this point, but it’s really important to keep this issue in mind if you do have assets abroad, particularly in Europe.

It’s very important that you get advice from a specialist Wills and Probate solicitor who can give you advice based on your own circumstances. Call our expert Private Client team now on 01264 353411, via email: wills@bsandi.co.uk  or contact us online and we can help you to make sure that your assets are protected and that everything in your estate is given to the people you choose, in the most tax efficient way.


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