If you have assets in multiple different countries, you may need more than one will. Your estate planning requirements could vary greatly depending on which assets you own and where they are located.

Why Might You Need Multiple Wills?

Lawyers may recommend that you sign multiple wills that affect different parts of your assets. The primary reason that estate planning professionals suggest more than one will is that you have assets in more than one country.

Countries have extremely different laws regarding wills, trusts, and estate planning. For example, countries such as France have forced heirship regimes that automatically require certain inheritances for certain relatives without regard for what a will says. Other countries, such as The Bahamas, permit free disposition of assets using a will.

A will that is legally effective in one country could have no effect in another country, or it might produce a result that you did not expect. Sometimes separate wills can solve this problem. One will could distribute property located in a country, and the other will could distribute property in another country.

Are There Downsides to Making Multiple Wills?

There are a few significant downsides to making multiple wills, which is why you should discuss it with your estate planning lawyers. To start, you probably need more than one lawyer to make the wills. You should consult lawyers with estate planning experience in each country where you own property, and the lawyers should communicate with each other too. That way, your wills do not conflict with each other.

Further, any time you change one of the wills, you may need to change the other one. This could require additional visits to the lawyers. Your estate planning could quickly get expensive – and necessary.

Because having more than one will can be expensive and time-consuming, you need to figure out if it is necessary. In some cases, you may be able to dispose of assets in more than one country using a single will. Early estate planning will help you determine which structures you truly need.