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How do you include international property in a will?

If you have property in a foreign country, you may want to pay close attention to your will. Although you may think the document is valid because it meets all of the requirements for Illinois, you may find that international property presents a different set of circumstances.

There are a few things you can do when you draft a will concerning your international property. The American Bar Association says that one way is to include this property in your will and make sure it is valid in the country where your property is located. Not all countries recognize U.S. wills, but those that do usually require your document to meet the specifications of their laws. You may also find that your Illinois will is only valid in very particular situations. Because there are so many legal variations from country to country, it is usually best to look up the requirements of the country where you hold property.

You may also write two wills, one for your U.S. property and another for your international holdings. If you decide to do this, it is usually best to work closely with your lawyer. You generally need to make sure that the documents are updated regularly to include any additional international property, and it is also important to make sure that the terms of each do not cancel the other out. Because this process can involve many fine details, you may want your lawyer to work with a lawyer from the other country so they can ensure that all requirements are met.

Another option is to write an international will. There are usually broad requirements you have to meet; however, once you have satisfied the guidelines, it is generally recognized in countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Ecuador. Your international will may be legal in Illinois.

This information is general in nature. It should not be used in place of legal advice.   

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