Assets Located Outside of the United States

Sam and Jill have created a revocable living trust. They have been told to transfer their assets into their trust in order to avoid probate. When their attorney asked them to list their assets, they forgot to tell him about assets they own in one or more foreign countries.

Most foreign countries do not allow living trusts. Sam and Jill have pour-over Wills which say that all assets they forgot to transfer into their trust while they were living will go to their trust when they die. When Sam dies, Jill sends a copy of his Will to an attorney in France in order to get his real property located there re-titled into the name of the trust. Only then is Jill told that the Will is going to cause trouble and confusion in France because they don’t allow trusts.

If Sam and Jill had told their attorney about their foreign assets, their attorney could have advised them to hire an attorney in each foreign country in which they own assets and to direct that attorney to prepare a Will disposing of their assets in that specific country. In this way, each foreign Will can comply with the laws of that country and be valid and effective. 


About randyspiro

I am a super lawyer in California with dual specialization in Estate Planning and Taxation.
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