Dealing with the loss of a loved one is one of the more difficult times in our lives. Grieving family must perform a myriad of tasks. Heirs make funeral arrangements, transfer bank accounts, settle bills, and distribute the decedents estate. In New York and California, families often litigate for several years after the passing of the decedent. Bonds are destroyed that had lasted for decades when things settle. And of course, the legal fees only add to the angst of the last few years.

Unfortunately, most people fail to make things easier for their loved ones when they pass. The overwhelming majority of decedents pass without a Will.  I cannot recommend strongly enough that you establish how to distributors assets when you pass. Many people often say, but I don’t have anything anyway. Often times though, you don’t know what you have when you die. You could have rights to the assets of someone else. You’re passing can bestow rights to your spouse or step family. And you can only imagine how these tasks become insurmountable when they involve international family affairs.

You could own property or have debt. Foreign property may have been left behind by your grandfather but your mother did not learn off before her passing. Though, you don’t know attorneys in that foreign land, nor do you know how to navigate the legal system. Alternatively, you could be a relative of an American woman who passed without a will and left behind her Italian family. Her husband, adult son, Grandchildren and son-in-law of her deceased daughter all resided in Italy. Depending on which U.S.state controlled her assets, the grandchildren and son-in-law could have rights to the grandmother’s assets. Further complications may arise if her Italian husband died a few months later.

Why You Should Think About This

The adult son had quite a confusing and daunting task ahead of him. He had to initiate a probate proceeding in California where the assets remained as well as distribute her Italian estate. He administered and distributed all assets in compliance with both Italian and American intestate laws.

Too often, people believe that they understand the laws of a foreign country. For example, notarizing a document in a foreign country is usually more complicated than you might think.  And many documents must be notarized in a probate proceeding.Many people believe that Italian notaries are valid for American documents. The only legally binding you.s.notary outsideof the U.S.A. is at an American Embassy. Therefore, your notary will involve official translations, scheduling multiple witnesses schedules, and securing appointments at various Italian and American government offices. Additionally, You will need to make sure that you were in compliance with the laws and procedures in both countries to be sure that the assets may be distributed internationally.

How to Prepare

Hiren enters the need for a specialized international attorney. That is not to say in Italian attorney, nor an American attorney. You’ll need both an Italian as well as an American attorney to effectively distribute the estate to their respective countries. However, to comply with the juxtaposition highlighted earlier to effectuate the distribution, you require a uniquely specialized individual who is able to pull from the limited international law available to create a new avenue of procedural compliance. Past experience has shown that you risk significant delays an extra cost if you do not use a truly international attorney.

First, we strongly recommend that you create a written in legally binding testament of your desires before your passing. Always consult with an attorney to ensure your testament is legally valid. Alternatively, if you find yourself dealing with the loss of a loved one, either with or without a will, we send our condolences and await the opportunity to assist you with at least one of the burdens you now face and what is surely a difficult moment.