The Vital Importance of making a Will to deal with your Assets at Home and Abroad

The coronavirus pandemic, the rapidity of its spread across the globe and the speed of the subsequent actions each government has been forced to take has, amongst many other things, brought into sharp focus the importance being organised and having all your important issues properly under control.  The sudden obligation to remain in quarantine with no opportunity to prepare in advance reminds people that some unaddressed or unfinished tasks are too important to remain in limbo.  Fortunately, due to technology, you can deal with the vast majority of situations without necessarily needing to be present in person.

One notorious area of neglect is that of making a will. Individuals are more diligent with their car insurance or mobile phone contracts than insuring that their hard earned assets are delivered to the benefactors of their choice. It is especially important if you have fixed assets overseas, such as a property, as many people do now. Many people make no will at all, particularly if they feel they have not yet reached an age where they believe that they need to. However, with a pandemic sweeping the world it would be wise to seriously consider who you wish to inherit your estate, to many of us family means everything and most people have no desire to inadvertently cause problems for their loved ones when they are no longer able to assist them.

The many cases in the courts tell us that squabbles over a loved one’s estate are far from infrequent.  There are many examples of families fighting through the courts over their deceased relative’s estate to the extent that the legal and other costs completely erode the inheritance.  Similarly an oversight with regard to your assets in, say, Italy could result your Italian property being handed to a remote relative under the strict Italian laws of succession.

Estate planning is never more important in these days of step-families and half siblings.  Providing complete clarity on your intentions for your estate is relatively simple to achieve.  It would be extremely prudent to review all aspects of your estate, particularly your foreign assets and it would be wise to adopt the precaution of drafting a will under the succession laws of the country in which you own a property for complete transparency on your wishes for the disposal of your estate.  In Italy, for example, there are very clearly defined succession laws and the very best way to ensure that there are no misunderstandings is to have an Italian will drafted by an English speaking Italian expert inheritance lawyer who will help you avoid any confusions or oversights regarding who you wish to be your main benefactors and any other legacies you wish to bestow.

Even if you have made a will, if it was drafted some time ago your family situation may have changed; your younger relatives may have divorced and re-married or now be parents. A beneficiary may have pre-deceased you and their next of kin, perhaps a wife or husband, may be a person with whom  you are not on good terms with and would not have wish any part of your estate to benefit the person in question. Even if your loved ones are aware of your views there is little chance of challenging a will under such circumstances.

Giambrone’s wills, probate and trusts team are extremely experienced in dealing with cross-border estates and ensuring that the terms of an Italian will reflect the express wishes of the testator and do not leave the door open for challenges from individuals related to you or otherwise to make an attempt to usurp the benefactors you have named in your will.  Nobody would like to think of the much-loved relative having to fight through the courts for something you could have easily arranged to give them in your will or due to a poorly drafted will the terms of your will are manipulated in a way you did not foresee and will not be able to change when it comes to light.

If you would like to know more about making a will to protect both your UK assets and your foreign assets please click here