Who Should Write your Last Will and Testament?

WillIn many countries you can buy kit Wills from the stationers or post office. You can download a template Will from the internet – even for your own country, but these options are fraught with dangers. Common sense dictates that it is an important document and one needs to get it right. Don’t go cheap!

For the more savvy, the usual place to go for a Will is the local law firm. Not all lawyers understand Wills and even more do not understand the complexities of dealing with your estate and possible directions of the laws of your home country - not where you are residing. Most lawyers prefer more complex and financially rewarding work such as mergers and acquisitions or have their own specialty. It is not easy to find a lawyer interested or knowledgeable enough to understand the complexities of international Will Writing. They often recommend a single Will even if you have assets or connections with 2 or 3 or more countries. They will find it very hard to offer advice on the international aspects of estate planning.

Will Writing is a growing marketing tool from independent financial advisor (IFA) firms that offer Wills but are primarily interested in investing your money for you. It might be more prudent to work with a firm that specialises only in Wills and estate planning, not just for Hong Kong but also globally.

Professional Wills Limited (PWL) is not a law firm but a firm of Will Writers that can write legal Wills (of course) for dozens of countries around the world and have an expertise in the knowledge areas necessary. Just think that if you are from one country, married to someone from another, and have assets in 2-3 or more countries, where do you start to get the right advice? Which law will apply as to how you want to distribute your assets upon your death? This is what PWL does and it is a fascinating and an interesting work area. When done properly, it brings a good deal of insight and peace to the client. The Wills will not conflict with each other and will comply with the laws on Wills for the country for which it applies.

Those from Common Law countries such as the UK, Australia, NZ, the US and Canada etc, use a Common Law type of Will and have more testamentary freedom. Those from Civil Code countries, typically most of the European and South American countries use Civil Code type Wills and are more directed (not entirely) in their distribution of their estates. There are also religious considerations to be taken in to account and Sharia law is just one of many. Understanding the issues and asking the right questions is most of the work in writing good Wills.

It makes sense to discuss your Wills and estate planning with someone that has the professional capability in this area and understands the issues globally.

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