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Making a will for overseas assets
01 March 2019  | Gerda Janse van Rensburg
 

Answer: 

Although it is legally possible to draft one will to deal with worldwide assets, we strongly recommend that you rather draft a will for each country where your assets are held.  

It is also important to make sure that each will stipulates that it deals only with the assets of the country in which it was drafted and that that will complies with the Estate laws of that country.

This will ensure that a will in one country does not revoke a will in another, as this can result in the wrong people inheriting if the beneficiaries in the wills are not the same.   

Different countries have different legal systems and by drafting a will in separate countries, you can ensure that each will complies with the laws of the country it was drafted in. 

Another disadvantage of only drafting one will is that the original will has to be lodged with the Master of the High Court in South Africa in the event of death, where after one can apply for court-sealed and certified copies.  The death can only be reported in other countries which are relevant on receipt of these copies.   This process delays the administration of offshore assets.

On the other hand, if there are separate wills dealing with offshore assets, the process can start immediately after death.

We strongly recommended that you consult an estate lawyer for advice if you have assets in more than one country.

- Complied from Fin24

 
 
 
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