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I've just moved to Australia, do I need to convert my will?

Once arriving in Australia, translating and converting your Will is an important step, and one you should take as soon as possible. 

Australian courts will generally be fair in giving effect to foreign Wills, but they must follow the Australian law, which may be against the wishes of the deceased. Ensuring that your legal affairs are adapted to suit the Australian legal system is absolutely essential. 

Although Wills that have been properly made in almost any country will be valid in Australia, your family will have to go through the lengthy process of proving to the Supreme Court that it is valid in your home country. This process is called probate.

If the Supreme Court finds that your foreign Will is valid in your home country, the administration of your estate begins and someone is appointed to address issues such as tax, debts, and distributing your remaining property to those people specified in your Will. But because of the process of having to establish jurisdiction, the distribution process can be extremely delayed, which will disadvantage your family and other beneficiaries.

It is, however, possible to have a Will in more than one country, so that your assets in one country can be distributed according to that country’s laws, while your Australian assets are distributed in accordance with Australian laws. Having two Wills might be the best solution where your overseas assets are substantial, but you must ensure that each Will is drafted correctly by qualified professionals, to prevent any potential international disputes, and ensure that your estate is administered as you wish.

Updating, converting and translating your Will as soon as possible after your arrival protects your loved ones, potentially saving them months, or even years of waiting for the administration of your estate to be finalised. The process is neither lengthy, nor expensive, and will help ensure that the administration of your estate is as stress-free as possible for your friends and family.

For specialised assistance converting or updating your Will, contact the team at Pathway Lawyers & Migration Agents.

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