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Should international assets be included in your estate planning?

Assets held internationally will need to be considered during the estate planning process.

One of the issues that can arise when individuals undertake the estate planning process is that they will need to consider the position of their overseas assets. For individuals with sizeable assets in other countries, factoring these into a will is an important consideration to make.

Among the most common solution is to have a main will in one jurisdiction and a second document that is lodged in the overseas country where the assets are held. By taking this option, the respective executors of the wills can apply for probate in the different jurisdictions simultaneously, making the process run much more smoothly.

However, there are challenges that come with this arrangement, specifically when different countries have different legal situations around the inheritance of property.

What about overseas residents with assets in Queensland?

For those who possess assets in Queensland but usually reside overseas, having a local will in place is essential. As well as ensuring that these assets are distributed in a manner which is consistent with your wishes, it also means the estate can be promptly split between the benefactors after your death.

Individuals from overseas will also need to ensure they have an understanding of the local legal system. Although there are many similarities between Australia's legal system and those of other countries, there are exceptions that overseas residents may not be aware of when they begin to think about their assets held within Queensland.

Regardless of whether you are an Australian or an overseas resident looking to begin the estate planning process, it is important to discuss this with a wills and estates lawyer. They will be able to advise on the best approach – one that is specifically tailored for Queensland's legal system.