We all know that writing a will is vital to ensure that the assets of your deceased estate are distributed in the way you wish. However, writing a will can be a difficult process, and sometimes it’s difficult to know how different assets will be treated after your death. If you live in an Australian State or Territory, such as New South Wales or Victoria, but own assets outside of the region, here some key points you need to know.
Deceased estate assets in Australia
Any assets that you have that are in Australia will be covered by your will. However, it is important to note that:
- If you have assets (such as real estate) in another State, the executor appointed in your will may need to get a Grant of Probate in your primary State and then apply for a resealing of that Grant in the other State(s).
- Your superannuation usually does not automatically form part of the assets of your deceased estate. you need to have a binding death benefit nomination in place to ensure your chosen superannuation is given to the beneficiaries you have nominated.
Deceased estate assets outside Australia
As we become an increasingly globalised society, more and more people own assets abroad or live overseas. This can make a will more complicated. Each country has its own laws regarding wills and assets. The country where your assets are located may not be a signatory of the Hague Convention (which enables mutual recognition of legal instruments). In that situation, its important to engage a lawyer who can identify the country-specific laws that apply to your assets.
Often, a distinction is made between whether an asset is moveable or immoveable, and different laws apply to each. A moveable asset could be a bank account or shares, whereas an immoveable asset might be a house. However, some countries don’t make this distinction, and will simply use the citizenship of the deceased to determine the law that applies to their estate.
The importance of professional legal advice
When it comes to ensuring compliance with wills and estate planning law, professional legal advice is essential. A lawyer will be able to ensure you make legally sound decisions.