Multijurisdictional Wills and Incapacity Planning Webinar Report

Gain an insight into the key topics discussed around wills and planning during our legal webinar with a leading law firm.

Published on 16 February 2021
Written by Simon Christian
Simon Christian

Chambers High Net Worth with O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers LLP Webinar Recap

In our Chambers High Net Worth webinar Using Multijurisdictional Wills and Incapacity Planning, lawyers Margaret O'Sullivan, Susannah Roth, Stephanie Battista and Marly Peikes of O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers discussed the benefits of using separate situs Wills and Powers of Attorney in estate planning for clients with assets or interests in multiple jurisdictions.

Examples of key cases

Two case studies helped illustrate the issues. In the first, a client who was born in Italy but lived most of her life in Canada had conflicting Wills in Ontario and Italy. Does the later Canadian Will revoke the earlier Italian Will? Is the Canadian estate liable to pay Italian inheritance tax? How could the estate planners have avoided these difficulties? In the second, a globally mobile professional couple sought to protect their extensive assets across multiple jurisdictions using separate situs Powers of Attorney. How could their estate planners ensure the clients' worldwide assets are protected in the case of incapacity? What formalities are required in each jurisdiction, and what is protected?

In a poll, viewers where asked which of the challenges estate planners face when planning for globally mobile clients was the most significant: 36% felt that the complexity and lack of harmonisation among different legal systems was the greatest obstacle, while 26% thought that the key challenge was finding experienced co-counsel in each jurisdiction in which their clients live, work, hold assets or are exposed to liabilities.

In considering having a separate situs will, or advising clients to do so for assets in different jurisdictions, what do you think the biggest challenge or hurdle is?   

  • Additional legal fees and process is expensive 14.3%
  • Finding legal advisors with the right expertise 26.1%
  • Communication issues in dealing with different legal regimes, rules and languages 23.6%
  • Too much legal complexity and lack of harmonization among the laws of different countries 36%

Viewers were also asked how best to meet the challenge of estate planning in an increasingly globalised world. Opinion was split as to the best way forward, but the most popular option was for more and better practitioner-focused education on international planning, to which the O'Sullivan team's high-quality webinar certainly contributes.

With increasing globalization, people will need more complex will and power of attorney planning, as their situation has international, not just domestic, considerations. What is the best way forward so these issues are properly addressed?

  • More articles and popular press on not just finding a dream home in an exotic locale, but also on the legal and tax consequences in order to raise client awareness 12.9%
  • More and better professional education for legal and tax advisors on international planning 33.1%
  • Clients being more proactive and taking more ownership of these issues and getting legal and tax advice before making a move or acquiring assets in another jurisdiction 29.8%
  • More law reform to harmonize laws across countries. The existing state of affairs is a legal nightmare that clients can't be expected to know about 24.2%

Click here to view the full webinar on-demand.

Chambers High Net Worth covers cross-border estate planning specialists in more than 100 of the leading jurisdictions for High Net Worth Individuals, including every U.S. state, in unmatched detail and acts as a first port of call for those seeking out top advisers for complex planning.


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