Dealing with your final wishes is a daunting task for everybody in every country. The laws governing the will are commonly complicated and confusing for a layman. In an ever more global world, wills, naturally, are increasingly dealing with multi-jurisdictional holdings (i.e. assets or possessions in multiple countries). Unfortunately, the main treaty governing these so-called “international wills” is now 40 years old and ready for a makeover.
In the early 1970s, the term “global asset holdings” was mostly reserved for people with high six-figure incomes and trust funds. However, today foreign bank accounts, stock investments, and property ownership have become the norm for an ever-increasing percentage of society. Accordingly, there is a widespread need for financially and legally sound wills that are capable of organizing the distribution of a person’s holdings regardless of location. Beyond the simple organizational benefits of an internationally valid will, international wills are necessitated by one main issue: taxes.
Estate taxes are the real nightmare of any inheritance. In a situation involving multiple tax codes that already difficult situation can easily develop into a seemingly never-ending problem. For instance, if the deceased held assets in two different countries without a bilateral estate tax agreement, an heir could end up paying taxes twice. While the international will convention did go far in reducing the possibility of this between participant countries, it did nothing to assure that an individual would be given the most preferential tax structure for his or her assets. This is where sound advice by legal consultants and planning must take over.
Planning, Planning, Planning
International wills are all about planning. Beyond just distributing assets, a will is also about setting up the most feasible and logical way to structure your assets so that, when the time comes, as little of your assets as possible will be consumed by taxes. All planning should begin with advice, and in this aspect, your plans should begin with consulting at least one international lawyer that deals with wills, specifically in the jurisdiction of your assets, if possible. Second, and of the utmost importance, is getting a correct, expert translation of your international will into all of the languages of the locales where it will be utilized in order to prevent the misinterpretation/misrepresentation of your will; this can easily be achieved by contacting a reliable translation firm that can comfortably deal with international wills in your language of choosing.
EVS Translations is one of the leading language service providers for international law firm and corporate legal departments and specializes in the translation of highly-sensitive legal documents such as wills and contracts. Specialized translation teams in 7 offices work in line with legal terminology while experienced proofreaders ensure that all translations meet the international quality standards EN15038 and ISO 9001:2008.
Do you have any questions? Interested in a free quote? Our Atlanta translation office will be happy to answer all your international will translation questions! Call us today at +1 404-523-5560 or send us an email: quoteusa(at)evs-translations.com.