What happens when I have assets across multiple countries?

Published 04 May 2018

One of the benefits of a global society is the ability to hold assets in various foreign countries. Whether you want to own a holiday home or set up an overseas bank account, it's all easier with the advent of new technology.

However, it's important to remember how assets based around the world are dealt with in will and estate planning. As every country has its own laws and regulations, the rules that apply for your Australian-based bank account, for example, might be completely different to a UK-based one.

So, with this in mind, what are your options for smooth estate planning?

The international will - crossing borders

In situations where you have assets around the world, it might be best to adopt an international will. This type of will is accepted across jurisdictions and can make the administration of your estate much easier when you pass away. 

For example, if you had a home and business in Sydney, but a bank account in the UK, a wills and estate lawyer would suggest you have two wills. One would be a regular will to cover your NSW assets and then an international will to ensure your money overseas is transferred to the right people back home.

If you're wondering why two wills are required, the answer is simple - assets in one country are still subject to estate law in the respective jurisdiction. As such, depending on the specific laws, your family could be entitled to more or less of your estate than intended. With an international will, there is clear separation between assets at home and aboard - making it easier to make provisions for the future.

Where can I find information on international estate laws?

Don't worry, you won't have to read through pages and pages of foreign law to find out how to make an international will. With the help of the legal professionals at Malouf Solicitors, you can first build your NSW-based will associated with your assets in Australia. 

Once this process is completed, we can provide advice on how to best approach an international will. Our team has a network around the world and are able to liaise with various parties who understand local estate law. This will ensure everything from executor appointments to probate and inheritance tax issues are covered - regardless of where you're based.

For more information on international wills and creating a will in general, contact our expert team today.

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

I remain extremely grateful for Maloufs legal representation related to my financial management of the estate of my brother and for your continuing help and advice in this matter. As an aside, I always recommend Maloufs to my friends and family members who are seeking the best legal representation - only last week, I strongly advised a close family friend that their best interests would be served by arranging an appointment at your Parramatta offices.
John of Parramatta NSW

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Parramatta NSW 2124

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