The quick answer is, Yes, you can have more than one Will and they can all be valid; that’s why liteWill is offering 3 Will registration slots. Here, we are going to talk a bit more on circumstances when you can have more than one Will and the reasons for doing so. I would like to call out, that this is generally a more complex process, so I do recommend for you to speak to a lawyer and/or accountant.
Remember, the 6 different types of Wills? Each Will has a specific purpose, and depending on the complexity of your assets, you may want to have more than one Will to facilitate the distribution of your assets.
When Do I Need More than One Will? 1. Living will 2. Dealing with Assets in Different Countries / States 3. Cost of Distributing Assets 4. Supplementing a Will
1) Living Will
Firstly, you can consider having a living Will, also called advance directive, which has nothing to do with distributing your assets after your death. On contrary, it is a document that spells out medical treatments you would and/or would not want to receive to keep you alive, as well as your preferences for other medical decisions, such as pain management or organ donation.
2) Dealing with Assets in Different Countries/States
Secondly, you should consider where your assets are located. Do you have a property in London and another in Sydney, stocks trading on the NYSE and a bank account in Singapore? In most cases, courts only have the authority to deal with assets located in their jurisdiction, i.e. they can only make orders regarding assets situated within their own borders. Some countries/states might not even recognize the part of your Will that deals with assets situated in another jurisdiction.
If your estate cuts across more than one country/state, the probate will need to be lodged in every jurisdiction. There is sometimes reliance for certain process to be completed before the distribution can proceed.
By having a Will for each jurisdiction, there is no reliance and the process can take place simultaneously. Some jurisdictions might proceed faster, so your loved ones can have access to part of your estate while waiting for the entire process to be completed. In brief, having a Will lodged in each respective country/state will streamline the process, allowing your estate to be distributed swiftly.
3) Cost of Distributing Assets
Thirdly, the cost of distributing assets is one major factor that you may want to consider. Some countries or states provide better tax treatment than others, some charge a higher tax rate when the beneficiary lives in a different country.
If your estate plan is not carefully structured, assets that you own in another country or state may be subject to double taxation or to a higher tax rate, just because of an oversight on your part.
You may want to write separate Wills dealing only with assets situated in the respective jurisdiction and designated beneficiaries in the same, thereby ensuring the most favorable tax treatment for all your assets.
4) Supplementing a Will
Lastly, over time, your assets may change. A second or third Will can be used to supplement the previous one you have written, including incremental assets that you have accumulated.
Writing a Will and updating your Will regularly is the very first step, and it’s an important one. But more importantly, you should register your updated Will and store it in a safe place. liteWill lets you register your Will and store an electronic copy of your Will. Otherwise, all the good work that you have done becomes irrelevant if your person of confidence is not able to find your Will in a timely manner. ‘A Will that is not registered is like a Will that does not exist’.
This portion of the website is for information only. The statements and opinions are the expression of their author, not of liteWill, and have not been evaluated for accuracy, completeness or changes in the law. Information contained in this article is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.
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