People who have assets in more than one jurisdiction may wish to prepare and execute an International Will under the “Convention Providing a Uniform Law on The Form of an International Will”. This Convention is included in the relevant succession statute for Ontario and includes, amongst others, the following provisions:
All persons licensed under the Law Society Act to practise law in Ontario as barristers and solicitors are designated as persons authorized to act in connection with international wills (“Authorized Persons”)
- The will shall be made in writing.
- It need not be written by the testator himself.
- It may be written in any language, by hand or by any other means.
- The testator shall declare in the presence of two witnesses and the Authorized Person that the document is his will and that he knows its contents.
- The testator need not inform the witnesses, or the Authorized Person, of the contents of the will.
- The signatures shall be placed at the end of the will.
There are also provisions under the Convention relating to the date that is to be placed on the will, the safekeeping of the will and requiring the Authorized Person to attach to the will a certificate confirming that the obligations of the Convention have been complied with.
As an alternative, it is often advisable that the testator have a will for each jurisdiction in which he or she owns assets. Thus the testator`s Ontario will would be the last will for all assets except those located in a foreign jurisdiction. Where a testator owns multiple wills, it is critical that each will contemplates or expressly states the location of assets it purports to deal with so as not to inadvertently revoke another will(s) which the testator intended to deal with foreign assets.
Lawyers often recommend that the testator execute multiple wills when the locations of their assets cover more than one jurisdiction because:
They can be prepared in the proper form and language of the jurisdiction.
- When the testator dies, the will can be probated in the proper court of the particular jurisdiction and problems in obtaining foreign grants of probate and translating foreign wills can be avoided.
Thus, the need to retain legal counsel in the foreign jurisdiction to supervise the proper preparation and execution of the will is often far outweighed by these advantages.
Andrea Kelly, Lawyer, has extensive experience in wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estate administration matters. She provides clients with a high standard of timely professionalism and expertise, incorporating a very thorough fact finding process. This is quite often enlightening for her clients and facilitates individually tailored services. If you would like to know more, feel free to use the easy contact form or read Andrea’s bio.