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MyExpatWill™ -
Write an Expatriate Last Will and Testament

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  Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do you own assets in Canada, the United States, England or Wales, but live in a different country? Or do you now live in Canada, the United States, England or Wales, but already have a Will covering your assets in your home country?
The MyExpatWill™ service allows you to create a legal "Expatriate" Last Will and Testament, which works in conjunction with your existing Will, but covers any assets that you own in a foreign country. Your existing Will remains in effect, and covers your assets in your home country.

If you own assets in a foreign country, then you need an Expatriate Will. It is very difficult to include foreign assets in your existing Will. Foreign assets are likely to be subject to the probate and inheritance laws of that country. Your Executor may have to be granted authority to act in the foreign jurisdiction and your existing Will may not be accepted in that jurisdiction. That is why we offer an Expat Wills service, to support situations where you have assets in multiple countries or assets held in a country where you are not residing.

For example:

  • If you are living in Canada and have Canadian assets, but you also have assets in the U.S., you can use the MyExpatWill™ service to create your U.S. Will for your U.S. assets.
  • If you are an American citizen living abroad, and need a Will to cover your U.S. assets, you can use the MyExpatWill™ service to create a Will whether or not you have a Will in your country of residence.
  • If you are new to the U.K., have assets in another country and already have a Will in place for that country, you can use the MyExpatWill™ service to create a Will for your U.K. assets.

 

This is NOT just a do-it-yourself legal will kit. DIY will kits cannot even begin to address the special needs of an Expatriate Will.
Read what makes us better.

We have removed the obstacles to writing an Expatriate Will.  If you want to create a Will for a country other than where you live, it is extremely difficult to find a legal professional to help you. With today's technology and the power of the Internet, you are now able to create your documents yourself.  Our service is convenient, low cost, and simple.  The MyExpatWill™ service steps you through a series of questions in a "wizard" format.  All questions are written in plain language, so you don't have to be a legal expert to create your own Expatriate Will.  You simply answer the questions, complete the details, and we automatically and instantly format a document that forms the basis of a legal Expatriate Will, custom-made for your local jurisdiction.  This document can then be printed and signed in front of witnesses to become a legally binding document.  There is also plenty of supplementary information to help answer all of your questions.

Make unlimited updates free of charge.  Don't pay a lawyer every time you need to update your Expatriate Will.  We allow your Expatriate Will to be kept securely online at PartingWishes.com so that you can make unlimited updates for as long as you are a member here.  For example, if you have a significant change in your life you can revoke your previous Expatriate Wills and create a new, updated version.  If you change your marital status, have a new child, make a significant purchase, move homes, or get a pet --- all of your revised wishes can be captured in a new version of your Expatriate Will.  Not only will you have a legal Expatriate Will, but it will always be kept up to date.

You can still have it reviewed by a lawyer.  We have worked with lawyers in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom to bring you the MyExpatWill™ service and to ensure that it is of the highest quality.  But if you wish, we can still arrange for your Expatriate Will to be reviewed by a lawyer, who will check the document for consistency and completeness.

Do not put it off any longer.  The vast majority of people do not have a Will or an Expatriate Will.  An "Expatriate" Last Will and Testament works in conjunction with your existing Will, but covers any assets that you own in a foreign country. Your existing Will remains in effect, and covers your assets in your home country, but if you own assets in a different country, then you also need an Expatriate Will.  Some people feel that they do not need one because they believe that the distribution of their estate is obvious.  Others find it to be too time consuming to get organized, find a lawyer, arrange appointments and attend meetings during their already busy schedules.  Many feel that the lawyers' fees surrounding the creation and maintenance of an Expatriate Will are too expensive.  Whatever your reason may be, you should know that it is extremely important that you have an up to date Expatriate Will.  If you die without an Expatriate Will, the courts will decide how your estate is distributed, and this may not be in the best interests of your loved ones.  It is impossible for us to know how your estate will be distributed, but we do know that if you have an Expatriate Will, then the decisions are in your hands.

 

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MyExpatWill™ - Frequently Asked Questions

How does this differ from the MyWill™ service?

The MyWill™ service can be used to create a Will for your country of residence, when you do not hold assets in another country. If you have assets in multiple countries, you should use the MyWill™ service in conjunction with the MyExpatWill™ service.

Do I need an Expatriate Will?

An "Expatriate" Last Will and Testament works in conjunction with your existing Will, but covers any assets that you own in a foreign country. Your existing Will remains in effect, and covers your assets in your home country, but if you own assets in a different country, then you also need an Expatriate Will.

Quite clearly, there is never a situation where an Expatriate Will is unnecessary, if you own property outside of your home country.  In many cases, this can be a simple declaration of your wishes for how your estate should be distributed, and this can be achieved by working through the MyExpatWill™ wizard here at PartingWishes.com.  You should draft an Expatriate Will while you are still young and healthy, even if you don't feel that your assets are substantial.  There is absolutely no benefit in waiting until you are older.  To die without an Expatriate Will is irresponsible and places a tremendous burden on your survivors.

When would it be a good idea to seek legal advice?

Although the MyExpatWill™ question-and-answer wizard is applicable for most cases, there are circumstances where it is advisable to seek legal advice.  In particular:

  • If you are involved in a matrimonial dispute, or wish to disinherit your spouse or children.
  • If you have a history of mental illness, or the question of your mental capacity may be raised in objection to the statements in the Expatriate Will.
  • If you are under the age of adulthood.
  • If you have complicated business investments (e.g. you are part owner of property or businesses where ownership may be challenged).
  • If you are about to be married and are preparing an Expatriate Will in contemplation of that marriage.
  • If you have a large, complex estate and feel that you would benefit from some advice on estate planning and tax reduction.
  • If you own a farm, as there may be significant estate planning implications.
  • If you need to provide for long term medical care for a dependent.
  • If you have any litigation pending which involve large sums of money or where a prison term is possible.
  • If you think that somebody may challenge your Expatriate Will in court or you have any other doubts about your situation.

In the above situations and in other more complex situations (the above is not an exhaustive list), it would not be advisable to rely on the output of the MyExpatWill™ wizard as an accurate expression of your wishes.  However, even in these circumstances there is value in stepping through the MyExpatWill™ wizard in preparation for a consultation with an attorney.

Can't I just include foreign assets in my existing Will?

That would be a mistake. The Will must be probated in your home country, after a grant of probate is issued. The executors could start dealing with the assets in your home country and distributing them to beneficiaries, but they would need to collect your foreign assets as well. Often foreign banks are not prepared to release account funds on the basis of a Will that has been written for another country. Often they demand that the document be probated again under the laws of their own jurisdiction, and the legal requirements for a Will in that country could be quite different.

This process will all take a VERY long time, and until the foreign component of the Will is completed, the estate cannot be finalized.

It makes much more sense to have a Will for each jurisdiction, with an appropriate Executor named for each Will.

Do you support International Wills?

Since the 1970's, The Uniform International Wills Act has been in place to allow one Will to dispose of property in multiple jurisdictions. Unfortunately, it requires that all property must be in a jurisdiction supported by the Act. The adoption of this Act has been inconsistent. In Canada and the United States, some States and Provinces support it, but others do not. The U.K. does support it, but the vast majority of other EU countries do not (France yes, Spain and Germany no). As a result, it is not possible for us to provide services in support of The Uniform International Wills Act. Instead, we provide a more complete service that allows you to create multiple Wills, each worded in accordance with the laws of each jurisdiction.

What makes the MyExpatWill™ service better than do-it-yourself legal will kits?

For an informative and eye-opening comparison of the MyWill™ service to do-it-yourself legal will kits, read about it here

Quite frankly, there is no comparison.  We have evaluated many existing do-it-yourself legal will kits, including several of the most popular American legal will kits, Canadian legal will kits and UK legal will kits. We were shocked by the poor quality, limited instructions, and low value for money that many of these will kits provide consumers.  Furthermore, DIY will kits cannot even begin to address the special needs of an Expatriate Will.  We have designed the MyExpatWill™ service to be of the best quality available today.  Furthermore, our membership pricing model also allows us to provide you with the most value for your money at prices that are unprecedented in the legal industry.

First of all, by making use of the MyExpatWill™ service conveniently online over the Internet, there is no need to purchase a do-it-yourself legal will kit in the first place, nor do you need to purchase an upgraded version every year.  Our pay-one-price membership model protects your investment for the rest of your life.  Our wizards, help and information are also designed to be the best on the market and are kept up-to-date on an ongoing basis. 

In addition, the MyExpatWill™ service provides you with complete instructions and answers your questions in everyday language, free of legal industry jargon.  We have developed this service based on the requirements of the public, not dictated by the legal profession.

Furthermore, our unique approach allows you to make use of the ultimate convenience of the Internet to create your Will at your own pace, online, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and to make changes online at any time free of charge

By storing your Expatriate Will online, you can take advantage of our unique messaging service which allows you to describe the exact location of your Expatriate Will and to provide a detailed list of assets for your Executor. All for no extra charge. When you pass away, let us worry about communicating this information to the people you specify. There is simply no other company that provides such a complete and convenient service to their customers.

Combined with this is a strong focus on protecting the privacy and security of your information.  We use industry standard encryption algorithms for storing all of your private information, and the design of PartingWishes.com ensures that the contents of your Expatriate Will are made available to the specific people designated by yourself, and only at the appropriate time.

If you wish, we can even inform you by email about any changes in legislation which may have occurred in your jurisdiction that may require changes to your Expatriate Will.  Or we can send you simple email reminders, no more than once a year, to remind you to consider updating your Expatriate Will if any significant changes have occurred in your life. 

Do-it-yourself legal will kits simply do not compare.  Also, take a look at the news article warning about the use of do-it-yourself legal will kits.

How much does this service cost?

The MyExpatWill™ service steps you through a simple question and answer wizard, formats your answers into a readable format, and allows you to make unlimited updates to your Expatriate Will while allowing you to store your information securely online.  You can then designate your own personal "Keyholders® ", who with their unique ID can unlock your Expatriate Will at the appropriate time.

These services are all available with the Silver I and Gold membership packages. The complete pricing structure is available on our Prices page.

Is this a legal document?

The MyExpatWill™ service can be used to generate a custom-made Expatriate Last Will and Testament in the U.S. (except Louisiana), Canada (except Quebec) and the UK (England and Wales only).  In order to make this a legal document, you should first print it and read it thoroughly. Make sure that it accurately reflects your wishes and that you understand everything that is contained in the document. According to the current laws in most jurisdictions, in order to be a legal document your Expatriate Will must be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses, and the two witnesses must also sign the Expatriate Will, in the presence of the "testator" (yourself) and in the presence of each other. You and the witnesses should also initial each page, so that it is not possible to alter any pages after the Expatriate Will has been signed. In most jurisdictions, a witness cannot be a beneficiary of the Expatriate Will, they cannot be the spouse of a beneficiary (at the time of signing), they cannot be a minor, and, like the "testator" (you), they must be of sound mind.

Although the unsigned version of your Expatriate Will stored online at PartingWishes.com is not a legal document, if you wish you can allow one or more of your designated Keyholders® to have access to the Expatriate Will that you have created here at PartingWishes.com.  This could be important if your legally signed copy cannot be located (for example, if it burned in a house fire).  In this situation, your PartingWishes.com Expatriate Will can still provide some guidance to a loving family, as they can understand how you wanted your property to be distributed.

However, "digital signature" laws are moving rapidly and we are closely monitoring these laws to support the future electronic notarization of documents, including the digital signature of your Expatriate Will.  It is only a matter of time before this becomes standard practice in preparing legal documents.

More details on the process to be followed for creating a legal document are included in the help text of the MyExpatWill™ service. If these instructions are followed, then your Expatriate Will is a legally binding document.

How do I make an Expatriate Will that I create on this web site into a legal document?

In order to make an Expatriate Will that you create on this web site into a legal document, you should first print it and read it thoroughly. Make sure that it accurately reflects your wishes and that you understand everything that is contained in the document. Once you are happy that it reflects your wishes, you must sign your Expatriate Will in the presence of at least two witnesses, and these witnesses must also sign the Expatriate Will, in the presence of the "testator" (yourself) and in the presence of each other. You and the witnesses should also initial each page, so that it is not possible to alter any pages after the Expatriate Will has been signed. In most jurisdictions, a witness cannot be a beneficiary of the Expatriate Will, they cannot be the spouse of a beneficiary (at the time of signing), they cannot be a minor, and, like the "testator" (you), they must be of sound mind. More information about this procedure and the restrictions on who can be witnesses is included at the end of the MyExpatWill™ wizard.

In the U.S. and Canada, after you have passed away the executor of your Expatriate Will must prove that your Expatriate Will was signed properly. In order to do this, at least one of the witnesses must confirm under oath that the Expatriate Will was signed and witnessed correctly. Another more convenient approach, however, is to have the witnesses sign under oath (in the presence of a Notary Public) an "affidavit" which can then be appended to the Expatriate Will. This is an optional step, but it eliminates the need for the witnesses to testify in court at the probating of the Expatriate Will. Again, a detailed description of this procedure is included at the end of the MyExpatWill™ wizard.

In England and Wales, the Executor usually has to obtain a "grant of probate" from the High Court. If the Expatriate Will has been signed appropriately with two witnesses, then the grant of probate is usually issued by the court.

Why do I need to make updates?

It is important to review your Expatriate Will every few years and after any new financial or personal events, such as a significant business arrangement, a wedding, the birth of a child, a divorce or if you move outside of your state, province or country.

You can choose to have a 1-year, 10-year, 25-year or Life membership at PartingWishes.com, during which time you can make as many updates or amendments to your Expatriate Will as you wish at no extra charge.  More details regarding the membership packages available can be found when making your purchase.

How long will it take to create my Expatriate Will?

This really depends on the complexity of your Expatriate Will.  The essence of a Will is simply stating that you leave something to somebody.  If you are leaving everything to one person, and you have no other dependents or family members, particularly from previous marriages, your Expatriate Will could be very simple and quick to create.

However, PartingWishes.com will also allow you to create quite complex Expatriate Wills that will require a great deal more thought and consideration.  In this case we would also recommend that you have the Expatriate Will reviewed by a professional lawyer, which will be a longer overall process, but can still be done conveniently from our web site. 

You do not need to complete your Expatriate Will in one sitting.  You can answer a couple of questions and then store these wishes securely online here at PartingWishes.com until you have a few more minutes to answer additional questions.  If you prefer, you can spend many weeks or months making unlimited updates until you are happy with your final results, at which point you could have your final copy reviewed and signed.

Is my information secure?

All of your information stored at PartingWishes.com is safe and secure.  Your information is so highly encrypted that nobody has access to this information other than yourself and your trusted Keyholders® using their randomly generated personal key.  Even the owners and administrators of PartingWishes.com are not able to access your information due to the software design and encryption methods used.

Note, however, that some services require temporary decryption of a member's documents as part of the operation of providing that service.  For example, if the member wants to have their Expatriate Will reviewed by one of our legal professionals, or wants to have their documents printed and mailed to them, then the software will automatically decrypt these documents as part of the member's instructions to have these services performed.

All data passing from your computer to PartingWishes.com is authenticated and encrypted using 128-bit "SSL encryption".  This is the most advanced level of encryption available today, and it means that any information sent from your computer is scrambled in a way which makes it completely unintelligible if intercepted.  When you are on a secure section within the web site, a padlock will appear on your web browser.  This is your assurance that the encryption is in place and that you are communicating across a secure link.

Furthermore, PartingWishes.com uses an industry standard high security streaming-encryption algorithm known as "RSA" to encrypt all of your information before it is stored online.  To give you a feeling for the level of security provided by this encryption, it has been estimated that with the most efficient algorithms known to date, it would take a computer operating at 1 million instructions per second over 300 quintillion years (that's 3 with 20 zeros behind it!) to break the encryption. That's several trillion times longer than the age of the Earth.

Can my information get destroyed or lost?

All of our data is securely stored in a highly encrypted format on database servers in the USA. To protect against catastrophic data loss, daily backups are performed on each of our servers to locations in Canada and the U.S. Hence, if any one of our servers experienced technical difficulties, the data would not be at risk.

Furthermore, physical protection of our primary systems includes:

  • Fire detection and fire suppression systems with dry pipe pre-action sprinkler systems
  • N + 1 redundant power supplies, providing dual power feeds and backup batteries, water coolant systems and generators
  • N + 1 redundant climate control, providing primary and backup chiller units, cooling towers, and water storage
  • Local network operations center (NOC) for monitoring all data center operations
  • 24x7 monitoring and support of network connection and server availability
  • 24x7 uniformed guard service with interior and exterior closed-circuit television surveillance
  • Electronic access at all data center entrances, including biometric hand scanners
  • Electronic key management systems and individually keyed cabinets

As you can see, we take the security and privacy of all of our member information very seriously.

Can I make a joint Expatriate Will?

A joint Expatriate Will is a single document, signed by "co-testators" (usually spouses), intended to reflect the wishes of both parties. This is generally considered to be an extremely bad idea, and probably worse than having no Expatriate Will at all. Often, the intent of a joint Expatriate Will is to declare that each person would leave everything to the surviving partner, and in the event that both partners are victims of a common disaster, everything would go to their children. The problem is that it is unclear whether a surviving partner can revoke a joint Expatriate Will and many messy legal cases have arisen as a result of this confusion.

In short, do not make a joint Expatriate Will, as there could be problems if either party changes their mind, or wishes to amend the Expatriate Will.  There may also be problems if the surviving spouse tries to make any changes to a joint Expatriate Will, as they may be bound to the original terms.  Furthermore, there is no reason to create a joint Expatriate Will, as there is no disadvantage to drawing up a separate Expatriate Will for each partner.

Do you offer custom Expatriate Wills?

We are unable to draw up an Expatriate Will specifically for you, as the courts would regard this as entering into a "client-attorney relationship".  In doing this we would be guilty of "Unauthorized Practice of Law," as legal advice can only be given by a person licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.  This is a serious offense.  However, you do not need to have a lawyer to create your Expatriate Will, and at PartingWishes.com we give you the tools to create an Expatriate Will based on your family situation and your plans for your estate.  Furthermore, the legal wording contained in all of the Expatriate Wills that can be created at PartingWishes.com have been produced and reviewed by lawyers.  By using our intuitive question and answer wizard you will be able to create a legal Expatriate Will that satisfies your requirements.  In addition, we offer an optional service which allows you have your completed Expatriate Will reviewed by one of our lawyers, who is able to check for consistency and completeness within your final document.

What countries, states and provinces do you support?

Most of our services are completely international.  They can be used by anyone in any country in the world. 

Services such as MyFuneral™, MyMessages™, MyLifeLocker™, MyLife™ and MyMemorials™ do not create legal documents and make no assumptions about your country of residence. 

In the US, Canada, England and Wales, we have worked extensively to ensure that the legal documents created by the MyWill™, MyExpatWill™, MyPowerOfAttorney™ and MyLivingWill™ services are up to date with the laws in all of the states in the United States and the provinces in Canada, including: Alabama, Alaska, Alberta, Arizona, Arkansas, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Manitoba, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Prince Edward Island, Rhode Island, Saskatchewan, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Yukon Territory.  Hence, these services can be used to generate legal documents in any state in the United States with the exception of Louisiana, and any Canadian province with the exception of Quebec, and in England and Wales in the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, the MyPowerOfAttorney™ service is available for all States in the United States except Louisiana, and for all Provinces in Canada except Quebec. In the UK, power of attorney forms are provided free of charge by the government.

Note that even in unsupported areas, there is value in stepping through the wizards provided in these services in preparation for a consultation with an attorney.  It is strongly recommended that residents outside of the above supported states/provinces/countries seek legal advice even after completing the wizards. Local laws in these unsupported areas have not been considered in the structure of the legal documents.

If you have any doubts about the legal standing of any documents in your jurisdiction, feel free to seek legal counsel in your area to have your documents reviewed.

Do I need a lawyer?

There is no requirement to use the services of a lawyer or notary public to prepare your own legal Expatriate Last Will and Testament. The law that defines the legality of a Will is written specifically for each Province, State and Country, but in summary the law requires that the Expatriate Will is written on a piece of paper and signed in the presence of two witnesses who cannot be beneficiaries to the Expatriate Will. Lawyers can certainly help you to prepare your Expatriate Will, but everybody has a legal right to write their own Expatriate Will. If you create a document using our service, it must be printed, signed and witnessed according to our instructions, and then it becomes a legal Last Will and Testament.

How can I get more information?

There is a considerable amount of information included in the on-line help of the MyExpatWill™ wizard.  This will answer most of the common questions regarding the steps included in creating your own Expatriate Will. 

For information about the other services available, or about PartingWishes.com in general, you can browse this web site or send an email to support@partingwishes.com.  We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

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