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Old 26.02.2021, 21:02
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Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

Hi all


I've done searches on the forum for Will and Testament as well as Heimatrecht but the threads are quite old and especially for the UK guidance given, pre-Brexit.


I'd like to get some initial guidance on how to proceed regarding a will and testament setup for assets in US/UK/CH. It's not much but I want to make sure my executor and family do not have to endure a painful probate process.


Is it as simple as setting up a will in each of the countries for the respective assets? so a US will for the US bank account and property and so on?



For CH in particular, I'm unclear how this would work. Previous threads refer to Heimatrecht however we are not Swiss Citizens. I want to solve the use case if my wife and I were no longer available, my child could get access to the CH accounts/safe deposit box. I asked the bank and they said to add as Power of Attorney, however, POA needs to be 18+ . Anyone else in this situation?



Thanks in advance
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  #2  
Old 26.02.2021, 21:09
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

You need to consult a lawyer/notaire. It is complicated.
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Old 26.02.2021, 21:36
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

Yes.. not too complicated though.
There seem to be official percentages that different relatives get-
Like, your wife gets half your assets, and your kids get the other half of your assets divided between them.
I was at a Notar last year - lovely guy. You best speak to someone qualified if you really feel the need to note down a will. If however you are married and have children, most things are pretty straight forward as to who gets what.
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Old 26.02.2021, 21:43
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

This might help.

https://www.ch.ch/en/inheritance/

But yes, I'd consult a notary. I'm not sure you could separate out your assets in that way.
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Old 26.02.2021, 21:52
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

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There seem to be official percentages that different relatives get-
Like, your wife gets half your assets, and your kids get the other half of your assets divided between them.
They are not Swiss citizens, so they do not have to follow Swiss will laws.

OP you should be a able to write a will as you would in your home country, include all your assets from every country in it. But maybe have a word with a Swiss lawyer to make sure it's all ok.
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Old 26.02.2021, 22:06
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

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Yes.. not too complicated though.
There seem to be official percentages that different relatives get-
Like, your wife gets half your assets, and your kids get the other half of your assets divided between them.
This is true under Swiss rules which you don't necessarily have to abide by if you're not Swiss (and in some cases even if you are)

You can have one or multiple wills
https://conveyancingslawsolicitors.c...ent-countries/

If you're domicile of origin in the UK and you want to claim your domicile of choice is elsewhere then you need to think about arranging any UK assets as they will otherwise attract UK inheritance tax.

Here's a useful Swiss website www.deinadieu.ch/en
I;m sure I had another one but can't find it now.

For children it will probably depend on where the assets are and/or where the child is. You're probably looking at trusts or guardians for this.
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Old 26.02.2021, 22:25
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

You can only have one will.

Tom
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Old 26.02.2021, 23:13
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

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You can only have one will.

Tom
Google tells me:
Swiss wills can be changed at any time, and expats can also have more than one will at the same time – a Swiss will, and one drawn up in their home country. However, you must make sure that neither will revokes or negates the other one.9 Oct 2020
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Old 27.02.2021, 08:02
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

When a Swiss resident dies Swiss law applies, unless certain provisions have been taken in advance.

But this is not a guarantee that your country of origin will agree your Swiss W&T applies. Richard Burton, for example, lived and died in Geneva. The UK disagreed he had been a Swiss resident for tax purposes and successfully sued his estate for their death duties.

Get a lawyer.
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Old 27.02.2021, 10:01
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

Thanks all for the initial responses. Already there are some conflicting info hence I wanted to get some guidance what people have experienced as surely not the first person to try to solve this problem.



Obviously will hire a lawyer but I want to hear previous experiences otherwise I'm starting from scratch...simply "hiring a lawyer" isn't as straight forward unless there are recommendations, especially one with US/UK/CH knowledge.



Can anyone recommend a lawyer based on previous experiences?


Thanks
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Old 27.02.2021, 10:09
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

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When a Swiss resident dies Swiss law applies, unless certain provisions have been taken in advance.

But this is not a guarantee that your country of origin will agree your Swiss W&T applies. Richard Burton, for example, lived and died in Geneva. The UK disagreed he had been a Swiss resident for tax purposes and successfully sued his estate for their death duties.

Get a lawyer.
That was due to the fact he had a UK domicile of origin, nothing to do with where he lived at the time of his death. Getting rid of UK domicile of origin is not that easy. The UK lawyer has to be versed in this & should probably take councils opinion which will be expensive.
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Old 27.02.2021, 10:15
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

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Thanks all for the initial responses. Already there are some conflicting info hence I wanted to get some guidance what people have experienced as surely not the first person to try to solve this problem.



Obviously will hire a lawyer but I want to hear previous experiences otherwise I'm starting from scratch...simply "hiring a lawyer" isn't as straight forward unless there are recommendations, especially one with US/UK/CH knowledge.



Can anyone recommend a lawyer based on previous experiences?


Thanks
I would recommend https://www.edwincoe.com , they have a very strong private client dept. I would suggest you contact Ben Harle https://www.edwincoe.com/our-people/ben-harle/ he is young & very bright "Ben’s areas of expertise include domicile, residence and the UK tax implications of asset structuring, especially in relation to UK residential property." Ben is ranked in the top 35 under 35 by ePrivateclient. I have had 2 zoom meetings with Ben this year, participants were from Hong Kong, France, Switzerland & UK he understands 'international' issues well & how to best solve them. His minutes from the meetings were spot on.
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Old 27.02.2021, 12:57
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

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When a Swiss resident dies Swiss law applies, unless certain provisions have been taken in advance.

But this is not a guarantee that your country of origin will agree your Swiss W&T applies. Richard Burton, for example, lived and died in Geneva. The UK disagreed he had been a Swiss resident for tax purposes and successfully sued his estate for their death duties.

Get a lawyer.
Your will and testament declares who you want to leave your stuff to. It isn't a declaration of where you think you should or shouldn't pay tax. The UK would have had no disagreement with his will but would have been interested in his domicile and whether he was or wasn't non-UK-resident in his times in Geneva may have played a part in this. Even if he was deemed not domiciled in the UK, UK tax would have been due on any UK property etc.
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Old 27.02.2021, 13:35
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

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Your will and testament declares who you want to leave your stuff to. It isn't a declaration of where you think you should or shouldn't pay tax. The UK would have had no disagreement with his will but would have been interested in his domicile and whether he was or wasn't non-UK-resident in his times in Geneva may have played a part in this. Even if he was deemed not domiciled in the UK, UK tax would have been due on any UK property etc.
Burton's biggest issue was he bought burial plots for himself & his wife in Wales, signalling an intention to return to the UK, the fact he was buried in CH is irrelevant.

Writing a postcard to a friend saying you missed England has been enough for IHT to be applied by someone who had lived out of the UK for over 20 years. Severing ties is important
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Old 27.02.2021, 14:50
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

And having a statement in a will saying “I want my will dealt with in accordance with UK law” or something similar could be viewed in a similar matter.
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Old 27.02.2021, 14:55
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

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And having a statement in a will saying “I want my will dealt with in accordance with UK law” or something similar could be viewed in a similar matter.
Absolutely & avoiding foreign succession rules, even having a UK will, people think it's easy to lose UK Domicile, it's actually fairly difficult.
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Old 27.02.2021, 17:40
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Re: Will and Testament approach for US/UK/CH assets

Reply @ the U.S. side of things

We've recently spoken to someone about this, and it can be complicated based on what type of assets you have & will be leaving to your child ( and other people ).

Basically, what we were told is that the basic estate planning documents are extremely important. Those are :

power of attorney
health care surrogate
living will
gaurdianship ( as we have a minor child )

A trust should also be considered as it avoids probate, and items in the trust go directly to beneficiaries and trustees.

A will (alone) done by a professional ranges in price, but I think generally start at 300USD .

Setting up a Trust , with all the other documents will cost in the thousands.

I highly recommend talking with a professional to talk about your situation. Many times, they will do a free consult.

HTH
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