(Often Ignored) Expat Essentials – Writing a Will – Defining Moves

You don’t want to think about it, much less talk about it, which is why I have been getting shifty looks from most of my expat network this week when I asked them the seemingly simple question: “Do you have a will?’ Want to know how many people said “Yes”? Out of about thirty people, all of whom have high net worth, children from at least one relationship, and often dual citizenship / resident status. Two. A little worrying, no?  I can’t claim the moral high ground – we recently unearthed our Will, dusty from 10 years in an unmarked cardboard box in a storage container in Walthamstow.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I am one of the 28 who said “Er, no…” Then Rachel really scared me. You see, I’d just been thinking about the assets part of a will. Our house in the UK, basically. Which is a) only stuff & b) all owned in a totally regular fashion, & we’re married with no previous marriages or other kids, so it’s all simple & if we don’t get round to it, well, hey. BUT. That’s not the important bit.
The important bit is who would look after your kids if you AND your partner both died, while overseas?? You know, one of those horrible car crashes you hear about? How would they even get access to them & take them out of the country if necessary? If you don’t specify this in a will, your family will have to go to court to prove themselves as guardians of your children. In whatever country you happen to have been in at the time. And within 30 days of your death since their right of residence likely expires on the death of the work-permit-holding parent….. Just think about that one for a minute. Then get on to your lawyer. Now.