International Wills and Foreign Language Documents

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International wills might become a more common feature in estate planning in Australia. This is because the growing body of foreign born Australians will translate into a growing body of individuals who may have foreign property and may therefore wish to draw up testaments that are enforceable here as well as overseas. The internationalisation of trade and commerce will also see an increase of Australians who have acquired property and assets located outside Australia, and this too will increase the likelihood people wanting to draw up international wills.

For these reasons, it may be prudent that those wishing to have their property disposed of – in a particular way – after their passing, might want to consider having a notarised international will signed and witnessed. This will ensure that their wishes and directions as to that property are respected after their death.

Those who have wills drafted in a foreign language need not feel that their will or testament cannot be notarised by a local Sydney notary. As explained in our section on foreign language documents, even an international will drafted in an alphabet that does not use the English alphabet, such as Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin) Indian (Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati) or Cyrillic, Japanese, Korean etc., or any other European language, all these can indeed be notarised subject to the cautions and reserved rights of the notary.

The new regime established under the legislation (which sets out the form of an international will to be notarised by a public notary) is not however mandatory. Nevertheless, the new law brings into effect the international agreement which seeks to facilitate the administration of estates which are located across borders. It is encouraged that those who believe that they may benefit from having an international will executed should make further inquiries as to its practicality.

If you are considering the production of an international will that will cover your local and foreign property and assets, a Notary Public in Sydney can assist in certifying the document so that it can be used in a foreign jurisdiction (court, tribunal, administrative body etc.). Depending on where you are located, a notary may be in a position to come to your home or office, for example in Chatswood, Epping, Mosman, Neutral Bay, Cremorne, Balmain, Roselle or the greater Sydney Central Business District (see further our section on Availability). For more information about other Sydney locations where our Notary Public can offer his services, or to get a quote for our services, we can be contacted on the details provided on this website.