Prevention against Inheritance laws affecting the purchase of your property abroad
It is a common thing to own a second property abroad in places like Spain, France and Italy these days in terms of investment.
However, issues arise as people assume that their English wills are protection enough and that the property will be dealt with in the same terms as stated in the will.
This is sadly not true.
In English ruling, the property a house, flat or land will pass in accordance with English law of succession, by will or intestacy. Property abroad will follow that countries own jurisdiction and make it more difficult to impose English rulings later on.
Property would therefore not follow the same process as English laws whereby you can leave your estate to your chosen heirs. Instead, your property will follow local intestacy rules and could end up in the hands of very distant relatives.
Another point to note is that not every country recognises Civil Partnerships and common law marriages, local rules could prove very unfavourable in some incidences.
For peace of mind, it is always ideal to have a separate will in place giving peace of mind to ensure the smooth transfer of property.
It may be seen to some as another unnecessary expense, but it is actually a very good precaution method in some cases, as in most European counties, the estate will pass directly to the beneficiaries and no to the executors. If this were to happen, then this could lead to a double transfer¹ leading to twice the charges of inheritance tax. Another reason is that if there is no foreign will then the English will would need to be translated and then notarised with any other documents. This can lead to delays in transfer of property and even more penalties for late payment of taxes.
It is important to have a separate will in place to dispose of your oversees assets as in the long term it could save a great deal of time, money and worries to those you leave behind.