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April 04, 2016

Overseas assets and your will


If you have offshore assets, it’s a good idea to have separate wills, one for your assets in South Africa, and the other/s for assets in each country where you have assets overseas.

Your local will should provide something like ‘What follows applies to my South African assets only’ or ‘This will deals only with my South African assets.  Should I have any non-South African assets, these will be dealt with in a separate will’.

It’s unlikely that a local attorney will have the necessary expertise to advise you about the requirements of the every country where your foreign assets may be located, so always seek expert local advice regarding appropriate offshore tax and estate planning requirements and advantages.

For example, in some countries there are inheritance laws that override the intentions of the deceased – requiring that a certain part of the deceased’s estate be left to certain specified relatives.

The separate wills will be administered, simultaneously, in accordance with South African law and the appropriate law pertaining to your offshore will. The two wills work in parallel – one for the bulk of your estate in SA one for your foreign assets. 



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