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Family Law

Wills and Probate

The probate process is a court-supervised proceeding in which the authenticity of the will left behind is proven to be valid and accepted as the true last testament of the deceased. The court officially appoints the executor named in the will, which gives the executor the legal power to act on behalf of the deceased.


Wills and probate legal issues can involve a variety of subtopics, some of which include:

Will drafting: This refers to the process of creating a will, including the requirements for a valid will and the proper execution of a will.

Will contests: This refers to challenges to the validity of a will, such as claims of undue influence, fraud, or lack of testamentary capacity.

Will revocation: This refers to the process of revoking or canceling a will, such as by creating a new will or destroying the original will.

Beneficiary designations: This refers to the process of naming beneficiaries for specific assets, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and bank accounts.

Executor or administrator appointment: This refers to the process of appointing someone to manage the deceased person’s estate and distribute the assets according to the will or the laws of intestacy.

Inventory and appraisal of assets: This refers to the process of identifying and valuing the deceased person’s assets, which can include real estate, personal property, and investments.

Debt and tax management: This refers to the process of paying off any debts and taxes owed by the estate, such as credit card debt, mortgages, and state or federal taxes.

Distribution of assets: This refers to the process of distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries according to the will or the laws of intestacy.

Dispute resolution: This refers to the process of resolving disputes that may arise during the probate process, such as disputes over the distribution of assets or the validity of a will.

Will interpretation: This refers to interpreting the meaning of ambiguous language or unclear instruction on the will.

Our international probate lawyers can assist you in managing an estate if you have lost a loved one who had assets overseas or who was a foreign national and had assets in your hometown. A procedure known as probate is required to handle or “administer” a decedent’s estate after death. Inheritance tax must be paid, their property must be organised and gathered, and an inheritance must be distributed. When a person passed away and had assets in another country while living in one, this is known as international or cross-border probate. This holds true for:


  • foreign nationals with property in your country of origin
  • Someone who lived in your nation but had assets overseas
  • Expats who still own property in your nation, like a home for the family
  • Non-domiciled residents, sometimes known as “non-doms,” are people who reside in your nation but have their primary residence abroad for tax reasons.

International probate can be considerably more difficult and time-consuming than standard probate because of the various regulations and taxes in different countries. An in-depth understanding of international tax and estate law, as well as how these laws intersect, is necessary to successfully run an international estate. The worldwide Probate attorneys at LegaMart have the requisite combination of legal and tax knowledge to help you negotiate every step of the procedure, from obtaining a Grant of Probate to transferring an inheritance. We manage a substantial number of intricate worldwide estates as a dedicated platform. In order to assist you as fast, effectively, and economically as possible, we have optimised our operations. LegaMart has experience managing big, intricate, high-value estates and can provide knowledgeable guidance on managing historical properties, global trusts, and global wealth management structures.

Before you take into account the foreign component, probate is already a challenging and time-consuming process. Although though managing the probate procedure globally might be difficult, it becomes lot simpler when you know what to expect and have knowledgeable legal representation.

When leaving property to foreign heirs

You must go through the probate procedure in accordance with the laws of the country where a loved one left you property or assets if such assets are located abroad. The probate procedure often entails demonstrating the legitimacy of the decedent’s Will and confirming who will inherit their property and assets. If there are no delays or disputes among the beneficiaries, this process may take a few months, but if there are disputes or contests of the Will, it may take years.

How the process works

Although the procedure varies from nation to nation, generally speaking, you must abide by the laws of the nation from which you are inheriting assets or property. For instance, in Germany and the majority of other European nations, a US Grant of Probate is insufficient. To establish their claims to the decedent’s property and assets, beneficiaries and heirs must do so through the German legal system.

You might choose to have a legal counsel in the nation where you are inheriting property because this process necessitates a lot of documentation and proof. Without a legal advocate, it could be challenging for you to understand the other country’s legal system, gather the necessary documentation, and file it from afar. The probate process may be significantly prolonged as a result.

Normally, all heirs and beneficiaries must establish their eligibility before they can receive any property or assets. Depending on the nation, you may need to prove your kinship to the deceased through a DNA test, familial ties, or other means. The Will’s legality is also confirmed by the court. The court will either permit heirs to claim property or permit the executor to distribute property after validating the validity of the Will and its contents.

Regulation on EU succession

When a person passes away leaving assets in multiple countries, conflicting national regulations can come into play. Various principles that affect how the assets of the deceased are passed on are recognised differently in different countries. For instance, France, Belgium, and Denmark recognise the notion of habitual residency, whereas England recognises the concept of domicile. Other nations, like Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Italy, apply the concept of nationality. Clients must make sure the counsel they choose has expert understanding of the succession laws of each country and how they interact with one another due to the complexity of the connections between these principles and their application to succession. Further research is required to ascertain whether the relevant countries have a law governing succession to moveable assets and another governing succession to immovables, such as a house or flat, once the client’s domicile, habitual residence, or nationality have been established and the situs, or location, of their assets has been determined.

Personal representatives and estate administration are not recognised in some nations, including Germany and Spain. Instead of having their inheritance handled by executors or estate administrators, as is the case in England and Wales, the heirs typically attend before a Notary to accept it directly. In some nations, particularly France and Germany, the idea of compulsory heirship is in effect, where certain specified portions of an estate transfer to specific beneficiaries—typically the surviving spouse and children—regardless of the terms of any Will.

Insofar as applicable, each of these ideas should be taken into account and properly utilised in respect to international estates. All of this is intricate, and in such global contexts, issues of private international law and conflicts of law may be pertinent and require clarification and thorough understanding.

The European Commission estimates that there are 450,000 cross-border successions in the EU each year, totaling more than €120 billion.

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