International Wills

Posted on Feb 25, 2020 by Liam Tobin   |   Categories: Wills & Estates, Wills, Powers of Attorney & Enduring Guardianships

In a recent article, I discussed the findings of the Supreme Court of South Australia on the issue of
revocation of a will where a Thai will was found not revoke a will previously made in Australia, as the
intention of the Thai document was only to deal with assets in Thailand.

This approach requires preparation of concurrent wills, with each dealing with the assets of different
jurisdictions, however, it is also possible to prepare an International Will that deals will assets in
multiple jurisdictions.

The Australian Government signed up to the Convention Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an
International Will 1973 (“the Convention”) which entered into force for Australia on 10 March 2015.
The Succession Act 2006 (NSW) (“the Act”), being the legislation prescribing the requirements for a
valid will in NSW was amended in 2012 to make provision for international wills to give effect to the
Convention once the Convention entered into force in Australia.

The Convention establishing International Wills seeks to unify and simplify the formal requirements
for wills, setting up a uniform law for a valid form of will in all countries to the Convention.
Currently, 21 Counties are parties to the convention, including Australia, Canada, France, Italy, the
United Kingdom and approximately half of the States of the United States of America.

In addition to the requirements for a valid will to satisfy the requirements in the context of the NSW
jurisdiction, an International Will also requires a certificate to be attached to the will, signed by an
authorised person in confirmation that the requirements for an International Will have been
complied with.

In some circumstances, International Wills can be a useful tool in dealing with assets in multiple
jurisdictions. However it is important to note that an International Will is not a one-size-fits-all
document that is the most suitable option for all jurisdictions or all circumstances.

In order to weigh up whether an International Will or concurrent wills in different jurisdictions is
more suitable for a particular situation, it is important to consider the countries involved, the trust
laws and taxation implications, as well as ease for applying for a grant of Probate in different
jurisdictions versus resealing a domestic court document in a foreign court.

If you have assets in multiple jurisdictions requiring appropriate testamentary documentation,
contact Baker Love Lawyers to discuss the best options for your circumstances.