Madison, WI asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin

Q: Will my American will still be valid if my spouse and I pass away while living abroad?

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1 Lawyer Answer

Thomas B. Burton

Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Eau Claire, WI
  • Licensed in Wisconsin

A: Yes, your Will will still be valid in the United States if you should pass away while living abroad. As long as you are a United States Citizen and maintain residency in one of the 50 States in the United States, then the laws of the state where you have established domicile should govern and your Will formed under the laws of that State will be valid. This assumes that you die with property subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and the state where you have established domicile. If you die while abroad and actually own no property that would be subject to probate court, then your Will, while still valid, will unlikely need to be used to transfer any of your property. Many assets can be transferred non-probate such as bank accounts or life insurance with properly completed beneficiary designation forms. However, if you own real estate in the United States then I recommend at the minimum that you have a Will and if you want to avoid probate on the property, possibly a trust, in order to transfer the real estate upon your death. I recommend that you consult with a qualified estate planning attorney who can examine all of your assets and present you with the best plan for achieving your goals in this unique situation. Enjoy your time abroad!

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