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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10953
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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foreign asset or investment when making a will?

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Myself and my wife want to make a will.


I want to understand the implications of the following:


I own publicly quoted shares in several foreign companies (including companies domiciled in the US, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland). The Republic of Ireland investment relates to investments held through Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which actually invest in UK companies, but which are classed as domiciled in Ireland. When it comes to making a will, are these investments classed as 'foreign' investments/assets? Thanks.

Buachaill :

1. Under the conflict of laws of the UK, succession to immoveables such as shares is governed by the lex situs of the shares. Accordingly, where you hold shares in international and US equities, provided you hold those shares through a share broker in the UK, then these shares fall to be governed by UK succession law on your death. Similarly, the investment in Irish ETFs will fall to be governed by UK succession law upon your death provided those ETFs are held through a UK broker. It does not matter in relation to the ETFs that they are themselves domiciled in Ireland. It is where and in what jurisdiction you hold the ETFs that is important. So you should hold all your equities through a UK broker if you want UK or English law to govern succession to them.

Buachaill :

2. So, when making a will, these international equities and ETFs are not classified as "Foreign" investments or assets when making a will provided they are held through A UK broker and are located in the UK.

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