When you own property in a different country, you may wonder if your will is valid in both Florida and the other country. It is important to understand how you may need to change your will to make sure it will be valid after your death.
The validity of your will usually depends on the legal system of the country in which you own property. AmericansAbroad.org says that some countries use a system called forced heirship. If you live in one of these countries, a certain amount of your estate is typically saved for your family. You may sometimes face restrictions if you want someone who is not your spouse or child to inherit assets. Each country with forced heirship inheritance laws generally has different requirements, so it is a good idea to look over the laws of the country where your property is located. Countries with this kind of inheritance law include Japan, Germany and France.
Countries typically recognize the validity of your will if they are party to the International Will Statute and the Hague Convention on Form of Testamentary Disposition of 1961. If you hold property in a country that agrees with these conventions, your will is usually valid. Roughly 70 countries are part of these conventions, including many European countries.
Sometimes a different country may only recognize the validity of your will if it meets local requirements. This means that this document might need to include specific terms and meet all of the requirements for distributing assets. It is a good idea to go over your will to ensure it conforms to the estate laws of the country where you own property.
This information is general in nature. It should not be used in place of legal advice.