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Leaving foreign property in your Will
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Home / Making a Will / Leaving Property in a Will / Leaving foreign property in your Will

Does my English will cover property owned by me overseas?

If you own property abroad it may not necessarily be covered by your English will.

There are two types of property. These are known as “moveable property” and “immoveable property”.

“Immoveable property” covers property that cannot be physically moved and includes land and buildings. Normally immoveable property will be subject to the inheritance laws of the country in which the property is situated.

“Moveable property” covers property that can be physically moved, for example, money, shares and personal belongings. Normally moveable property will be covered by your English will.

If your overseas property is not covered by your English will then it will pass in accordance with the inheritance laws of the country in which it is situated.

Even if your English will purports to cover your overseas property such provision may not necessarily be valid. The reason for this is that in many countries the inheritance laws are very different to those of England and Wales and as a result you may not be able to leave your overseas property to who ever you wish. In France, for example, it is not possible for a testator to disinherit their children.

Do I need to make a separate will in relation to my overseas property?

You may need to prepare a second will in the country where the property is situated to deal with that property. If you own overseas property you should take legal advice in the country where the property is situated.

I have made a separate will abroad to deal with my overseas property. Do I need to change my English will?

In England and Wales wills commonly include a clause revoking all previous wills. If your English will contains such a clause it is likely to have the effect of revoking your overseas will. If this is the case you should consider preparing a fresh will in England. It is important to ensure that who ever prepares wills for you knows that you have made more than one will so as to ensure that one of the wills is not revoked by mistake.

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