More and more South Africans own assets in foreign countries and clients often ask whether they need to have a separate will for those assets. While many people choose to have a single worldwide will, this is not always the best option. There are several complexities to consider, such as the nature of the assets you hold and the type of jurisdiction.
There are different ways to deal with international assets in a will
Generally speaking, the different options for dealing with South African and international assets are:
The nature of your assets and the jurisdiction will determine which will is most suitable
The first choice for most clients is to have a worldwide will. However, this is not always practical. The nature of your international assets and the jurisdiction in which they are situated will determine whether you require a separate will.
In these circumstances, a worldwide will is appropriate. However, like with unit trusts and shares, having a separate will may help with the administration process.
Get advice from your relationship manager on the need for a separate will
These considerations should highlight the importance of telling your relationship manager if you have international assets to determine whether you need a separate will. It is equally important to tell your relationship manager if you already have a foreign will – if you fail to mention this, a later will may accidentally revoke your initial foreign will.
The detailed wording of your separate will is crucial
It is important to carefully consider the country/jurisdiction in which your assets are registered. For example, the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey are separate jurisdictions from the UK. If you own assets there and want a separate
will, make sure that it is worded appropriately and does not refer to your ‘UK assets’.
There are other alternatives to a foreign will, depending on the nature of your assets
If you would prefer to avoid the need for a foreign will and probate altogether then, depending on the nature of the assets and the associated tax consequences, the following may be viable alternatives:
Please contact your relationship manager if you wish to discuss anything further or if you would like to arrange a meeting with a fiduciary specialist.
Click on the links below to view the other articles online:
Estate planning > read more
Understanding the tax implications of buying a UK residential property
International > read more
The changing regulatory environment – no place to hide
Trusts > Read more
Tax consequences for South African residents involved in international trusts
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The Fiduciary Focus Newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This communication is based on our bona fide interpretation of legislation, rules, regulations and publications. Nedbank Private Wealth provides estate and tax planning advice; however, we do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice and you are requested to consult a professional tax advisor or professional in this regard.
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