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A will is a formal statement signed before witnesses, which sets up your assets, your beneficiaries, the circumstances under which you would wish assets to be transferred to them and any caveats or conditions that you wish to apply. In the event of one’s death, an “executor” appointed within the will will have the legal responsibility of gathering in your assets, paying your debts, applying for probate from the jurisdictions in which you have tax exposure, settling any tax that is due and then distributing the residual estate in accordance with your wishes. In many jurisdictions, your will is not of itself binding, in some, your beneficiaries, acting together can set aside some or all of your will; in others, local law or custom can override your wishes for at least some or perhaps the larger part of your assets. On probate being granted, the will becomes public knowledge, so anyone can see the size of your estate and its main constituents.

However, sometimes a trust, while more complex than a simple will, for the right person, can offer signicant advantages. Tax Associates International can provide both wills and trusts appropriate to our clients’ needs. Please ask us for a consultation to see which suits you best.

You can also find out more on this topic in the Succession Planning area of our website.