I have been assigned to a one year position in Dubai, but all of my assets are in the US. I know I need a Last Will and Testament, how do I get one written?
This is a problem not only for people of temporary work assignments, but also for people who have permanently relocated, or have retired overseas. In our new mobile global economy, the number of expats is growing year on year. There are currently about 2.8 million Canadians living abroad (9 percent of the population) with over a million in the US alone. 6.3 million Americans live overseas, and 4.6 million Brits (with the number one destination being Australia at 1.4 million).
Many of these expats still have assets in their home country, and if they were to die without a Will, these assets would be subject to distribution by the intestate laws of the jurisdiction in which the assets are held. These laws are complicated, and in the UK, they are about to change on October 1st this year.
This is one of our most frequently asked questions, but it can mean one of two things;
A. Can I sit down with a blank piece of paper and write my own Last Will and Testament?
B. Can I prepare my own legal Will without using a legal professional.
Let us first explore question A.
Can I write my own Last Will and Testament?
The answer is “yes….but don’t”. The basic requirements of a Will are simple;
- The document must be clearly identified as a Will, and that it is expressing your wishes.
- Ideally it should revoke (or cancel) previous Wills
- You must demonstrate that you have the capacity to make a Will
- You must sign it in the presence of two witnesses (unless the document is entirely handwritten in which case witnesses are usually not required). The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries, but can be any adults with mental capacity. No legal training is required in order to be a witness to the signing of the Will.
- The Will should describe the distribution of assets to beneficiaries
If all of these requirements are met, Continue reading
For the last couple of years we have used https://legalwills.wordpress.com to share our thoughts on the importance of writing your Last Will and Testament. We have offered tips ranging from choosing an Executor to selecting the most appropriate guardian for your children. We have offered our views on celebrity estate planning news including articles on the estate of Anna Nicole Smith, Stieg Larsson and others. But most importantly we have been encouraging people to prepare their Last Will and Testament.
After 115 posts, we have decided to move our blog to reside on our website, so all of the information that you need is right here where you need it. It make take us a while to have another 100 articles for you; we try to make our discussions topical and useful. But over time we hope that our new blog becomes a useful resource for you.