Can a UK Will Cover Overseas Properties?
One of the questions I am often asked by clients is, can a Will made in the UK cover properties they own Overseas / Abroad?
Until now I have always advised clients to make a separate Will in the country their property is located. This is because different countries have different succession laws often known as Forced Heirs Rules.
So the correct Estate Planning advice has always been to make a Will that contains the correct wording, layout and language of the country the property is located in.
Whilst this advice has not changed for properties owned outside of the European Union, it has changed for those of us who own property that is situated within the European Union.
So Whats Changed?
A new EU Succession regulation known as Brussels IV comes into effect from 17th of August 2015.
The new Brussels IV Succession Regulation will only apply to deaths after 17th of August 2015, however, transitional provisions allow for a choice of law clause to be included in Wills from now.
These new rules have been adopted by over 25 EU countries which include France and Spain and will affect houses, flats and land situated in these countries.
Currently the UK, Ireland and Denmark have opted out of Brussels IV, however, these countries laws can still be applied to property owned in the 25 European countries as long as an election to do so is made via a clause in your Will.
If you currently own property which is located within the European Union and you hold a British passport, it is now possible to make a Uk Will that covers your properties in the European Union so that they are treated in line with UK succession Laws.
If you haven’t made a Will yet, this is an ideal time to have one drafted that covers your properties abroad, if you already have a Will that doesn’t cover your properties abroad I would recommend reviewing and updating your Will.