Can you have two wills in different countries?

If we ask you, can you have two wills in different countries? The simplest answer that can be given is, yes. A person can establish their patrimonial planning in different countries in which they have both assets and/or citizenship, something very common nowadays.

Things you should know about having two wills in different countries

Since the answer is positive, you can choose to have several testaments (each of them ruling the distribution of property in the country for which the will is executed). Therefore, it is very important to make clear in each of the testaments that any subsequent will in another country cannot replace the previous will.

This is done in many countries to prevent contradictory wills or multiple valid wills. A good lawyer can be of great help to protect against the possible risks that several testaments can have as well as to know the unexpected tax consequences.

Another option is to have a single will that can cover all assets exhaustively and translate it into several languages. In this case, reference must be made to the laws and relevant jurisdictions of each country and segregate the distribution of the assets depending on where they are located.

If you opt for a trust, you have to bear in mind that some jurisdictions do not recognize them in the same way as other countries, making taxation vary greatly from one country to another. In addition, depending on the countries, the trusts may have some risks, making it clear that these issues are truly sensitive.

Within this cross-border context, it is advisable to hire legal advisors specialized in estate planning in the corresponding countries of the client. In this way, the client will ensure that everything is done according to the Law and their wishes and does not carry unpleasant surprises.


Until 3rd September 2014 there was a fiscal discrimination for non residents in Spain, however, on September 3, 2014, Judgment was handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C-127/12 , which states that the current configuration of the Inheritance and Donations Tax in Spain was discriminating against non-residents who where receiving an inheritance in Spain, as opposed to the residents inheritance tax -more beneficial- of the place in which they are located, so it was contrary to the Law of the European Union:
 “Declare that the Kingdom of Spain has failed to comply with its obligations under Articles 63 TFEU and 40 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area of May 2, 1992, by allowing differences to be established in the tax treatment of donations and the successions between the successors and the resident and non-resident donors in Spain, between the resident and non-resident causers in Spain and between donations and similar dispositions of real estate located in Spanish territory and outside it. 
Since then both residents and non residents pay the same inheritance tax.
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