The third part of my blog on why now might be a good time to review your will planning concerns a piece of European legislation that came into force on August 17th 2015.
This piece of European legislation is known as Brussels IV, although the UK (along with Ireland and Denmark) did not sign up to it.
Now you may be thinking why are we affected by legislation to which we didn’t sign up, but bear with me…it’s potentially good news!
There are around 450,000 cross-border successions across the EU every year, and the new legislation means that for any state that has implemented it, the law of succession of the country in which the deceased was “habitually resident” will apply to their succession.
The implications are two-fold. The first effect is that anyone who is resident in the UK but has property in other signatory EU states may now be able to deal with the bequest of that property within their English will and according to English laws of succession.
The second effect is that anyone who has retired to one of these countries, or has dual nationality, may also need to review their will planning. Brussels IV will mean that the law of the country in which they are deemed to be “habitually resident” will apply to all their assets wherever owned unless they take action and make an expression of will to apply UK law.
The practical effects of this legislation are that it should now be easier to avoid the forced heirship provisions that are in place in some countries – giving individuals increased control and flexibility and the ability to deal with their total assets as one. The creation of a European Certificate of Succession should allow beneficiaries and / or personal representatives to confirm their status and ability to exercise their rights in another member state.
This is a specialist area, and so an appropriate expert in this type of will planning should be consulted by anyone with foreign property.
None of the above constitutes specific legal advice and as ever, you should ensure that any estate planner you consult is appropriately qualified with relevant experience. As Chartered Financial Planners we have access to such qualified legal experts, so please contact LIFT-Financial if you would like a referral.