Changes to European law about who can inherit assets following a death should be the cue for people to get their affairs in order.
Will Jones, a solicitor with FBC Manby Bowdler, says although the introduction of the Brussels IV regulation is good news for British ex pats and owners of overseas holiday homes, it means a clearly drafted will is more important than ever.
The new law aims to simplify cross-border EU succession. Previously, foreign nationals had to comply with the inheritance rules of the country where their assets were - for instance, if you had property and other assets in France, they would pass to children in most cases, or if there were none, to a spouse.
Brussels IV allow foreign nationals living in certain EU member states to chose whether their assets will be governed under local succession rules, or those in their country of nationality.
Will, a solicitor with firm’s Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning team, explained: “This is very good news for anyone who lives in Europe or who owns property there as it enables them to have more control over the division of their estate.
“Although the UK decided not to opt into the rule change along with Ireland and Denmark, UK citizens with property or assets in any of the other EU member states will be able to leave it to whomever they wish, as long as this is clearly stated in a valid will.
“You have to specify under which country’s rules you want your estate to be dealt with and it’s important to ensure the will is professionally drafted to reflect that or your wishes may not be carried out as you wanted.”
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