Legal translation and legal language interpreting services play an important role in international estate planning. Let’s look at the non-tax issues that should be taken into consideration when working with a foreign client who has property located in a foreign country.
First, a will or trust created according to the laws of the United States may not be applicable to the property located in a foreign jurisdiction. More often than not, the distribution of foreign property will be controlled by foreign law, meaning that you will need to have a will or trust prepared in accordance to that country’s laws. This will require a foreign language translation of the foreign law and of any existing wills and trusts that were previously created.
Second, if you decide to name a family member who is residing in your home country as the executor, trustee or attorney, one should take into consideration the logistical and language issues that will arise when executing a foreign estate. Again, foreign language translations and the use of foreign language interpreters will be essential.
If minor children are involved, the US court will automatically be granted initial jurisdiction over issues of guardianship, which could be complicated when the children have been raised in a foreign country.