Certified Translation of Foreign Laws and Wills, and the Law of Trusts and Estates when Foreign Real Estate is Involved

As more and more people invest in foreign real estate which generates a growing need for foreign real estate document translation services, the legal question of what happens to that property during the probate process is struggling for an answer. The issue is complicated by the laws of the jurisdiction where the property is located, where the will is made and probate occurs, as well as by tax planning considerations. And that’s where certified translation of foreign laws and translation of foreign wills comes in handy.


As a general rule, because real estate is immovable property, it will be held subject to the domestic law of the jurisdiction it is located in. When this location uses a foreign language, knowing what the law is requires a foreign language translation. In order to understand such jurisdiction-specific issues as tax consequences or forced heirship, an early foreign language translation of the jurisdiction’s law is essential.

One interesting solution to having property located in various jurisdictions is to get a will for each specific jurisdiction and then incorporate each will into one another. The foreign will should be drafted and witnessed in the jurisdiction’s language and should include a foreign language translation of all incorporated or referenced wills. Further more, all foreign wills should be translated into English and filed with wills issued in the United States.

Click here to read our earlier legal translation blog post, “Translation of Last Will and Testament, and Submitting a Foreign Language Will to Probate”.

And here to read our legal translation blog post, “A Brief Introduction to Transnational Legal Research”.

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