Will your Australian will work overseas?

A tax accountant handed a document to his companion with a miniature house and a calculator on the table.

It is increasingly common for Australians, as well as new Australians residing in Sydney, to acquire assets overseas and retain the assets they obtained before relocating to Australia. This trend highlights the growing need for knowledgeable accountants in Sydney who can provide expert guidance and support in managing international assets and navigating complex financial matters.

If you have assets in Australia, you need to have a valid Australian will to ensure those assets are left to your desired beneficiaries.

But what happens to those overseas assets? Does your Australian will cover them? Or vice versa, are your Australian assets covered by your foreign will?

Probably not – different countries have different rules for making a will and the formalities of bequeathing assets.

As a result, in 1973, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law formulated the Convention Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will (“the Convention”). In March 2015, the Australian Government acceded to the Convention.

So an International Will will now work in Australia and overseas. However, there are some stringent requirements for an International will to be legal. We strongly suggest you talk to your legal adviser about needing an International Will.

An International Will will only be recognised in other countries adopting the Convention.

The Convention does not cover some matters, such as the testator’s capacity, revocation of the will and witness, so legal advice is required.

It may also be prudent to prepare a Will in the country where your assets are located to ensure those assets are dealt with according to the country’s law, customs and systems.

Kreston Stanley Williamson Team

*Correct as of April 2019

Disclaimer – Kreston Stanley Williamson has produced this article to serve its clients and associates. The information contained in the article is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas in this article, you must seek advice about your circumstances. Liability is limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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