Concurrent Wills Unveiled: Managing Global Assets with Precision

by  Adv. Praneeth GN  




7 mins


Unlock Global Estate Strategies


Managing assets across borders comes with a unique set of challenges, particularly when it comes to estate planning. Concurrent Wills emerge as a practical solution for individuals with assets in multiple countries, offering a strategic approach to navigate legal complexities and ensure seamless distribution of wealth.

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of Concurrent Wills, exploring their benefits, essential components, the process of creation, and addressing common concerns.

In the Indian context, individuals contemplating Concurrent Wills must also be aware of the various types of wills available. For instance, understanding the nuances between Concurrent Wills and joint wills becomes crucial.

Joint Wills involve two or more individuals creating a single testamentary document, a concept distinct from Concurrent Wills. For a comprehensive understanding of the diverse options available, one can explore the intricacies of different wills, including Joint Wills, Mutual Wills, and Concurrent Wills in our detailed guide, Will Drafting And Registration in India

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Understanding Concurrent Wills:

Concurrent Wills, as the term suggests, involve the creation of two or more wills simultaneously, each tailored to the legal requirements of the country where assets are situated. The primary objective is to harmonize the distribution of the testator’s assets, considering the diverse legal landscapes of multiple jurisdictions.

Concurrent Wills should be treated as wholly independent of each other unless there is an explicit interconnection or incorporation. Unlike duplicate wills, they operate as separate entities, offering flexibility to the testator.

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Distinction from Duplicate Wills:

It’s crucial to distinguish Concurrent Wills from Duplicate Wills. While Duplicate Wills serve as safety measures, Concurrent Wills operate independently and are not contingent on each other.

Benefits of Concurrent Wills:

  1. Efficient Probate Process:
    • Concurrent Wills streamline the Will Probate process, allowing applications for probate in each relevant country. This eliminates the need for resealing probate, saving both time and effort.
  2. Expeditious Wealth Distribution:
    • Facilitates a quicker transfer of wealth to beneficiaries by aligning with the legal frameworks of each country, reducing delays associated with complex international probate procedures.
  3. Tax Optimization:
    • Takes advantage of varying tax treatments on inherited assets across countries, potentially resulting in tax benefits for the estate and beneficiaries.
  4. Mitigation of Legal Complications:
    • Addresses legal discrepancies by adhering to specific laws in each country, reducing the likelihood of complications arising from conflicting legal requirements.

Emphasis on Tax Optimization:

Highlight the importance of tax optimization over tax evasion, showcasing how multiple wills can strategically minimize tax liabilities in line with diverse tax treatments.

Points to Remember:

Before opting for Concurrent Wills, individuals should consider:

  1. Cost Implications for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs):
    • NRIs may incur additional costs for drafting wills in multiple jurisdictions. Consulting legal experts is crucial to navigating these potential financial implications.
  2. Clarity and Expert Planning:
    • Careful planning with expert attorneys is essential to avoid confusion among loved ones and to ensure that provisions do not contradict each other.
  3. Revocation Possibilities:
    • Understand that creating multiple wills may inadvertently revoke previous ones. Therefore, periodic reviews and updates are advisable.

Indian Context and Will Amendment Flexibility:

While the concept of Concurrent Wills is not formally recognized in Indian law, the principles of flexibility in amending wills and careful consideration of properties in different cities or states are integral to effective estate planning. It is crucial to approach this with thorough legal understanding and advice to ensure that the will is executed as intended, respecting the diverse legal landscape of India.

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Components of a Concurrent Will:

A well-crafted Concurrent Will should include:

  1. Appointment of Legal Representative:
    • Designates an executor responsible for executing the will and administering the estate, ensuring a smooth transition of assets.
  2. Personal Details of the Testator:
    • Includes name, age, and address for clear identification of the will’s creator.
  3. Declaration of Sound Mind:
    • Asserts that the testator was of sound mind while drafting the will, reinforcing its validity.
  4. Details of Assets Across Countries:
    • A comprehensive listing of assets such as land, houses, shares, mutual funds, and bank deposits in all relevant countries.
  5. Provisions for Minors and Charitable Bequests:
    • Clearly outlines shares for minors, as well as any assets designated for charitable trusts.
  6. Provisions for Minors and Charitable Bequests:
    • Country-Specific Details: Each will should clearly demarcate which assets in which country it pertains to, avoiding overlap between different wills.
    • Compliance with Local Laws: Ensures that the distribution of assets complies with the specific legal requirements of each jurisdiction.
    • Avoiding Conflicts: Prevents legal conflicts or confusion that might arise from having assets in multiple countries.

How to Make a Concurrent Will in India:

For those considering concurrent wills in India, the following steps are recommended:

  1. Define the Purpose:
    • Clearly articulate the objectives and specific bequests or dispositions intended with the concurrent will.
  2. Consult with an Attorney:
    • Seek legal advice to ensure the validity of the will and clarity in expressing intentions.
  3. Select an Executor:
    • Designate a trustworthy executor to manage asset distribution in alignment with the will.
  4. Asset Information Gathering:
    • Compile a comprehensive list of assets and their values to guide distribution among beneficiaries.
  5. Specific Bequests or Dispositions:
    • Clearly outline specific bequests or dispositions of assets to your beneficiaries.
  6. Signing and Witnessing:
    • Legally validate the concurrent will by signing it in the presence of at least two witnesses not named as beneficiaries.
  7. Thorough Asset Evaluation:
    • Evaluate Assets: Conduct a detailed evaluation of assets in both India and foreign countries.
    • Legal and Tax Implications: Understand the legal and tax implications in each jurisdiction to ensure the efficient transfer of assets.

Documents Required for Drafting a Concurrent Will:

To ensure a robust concurrent will, gather the following documents:

  1. Real Estate Documents:
    • Sale deeds or title deeds for properties.
  2. Tax Bills:
    • Aid in assessing accurate tax liabilities.
  3. Investment Statements:
    • Detailed records of financial assets.
  4. Business Documents:
    • If applicable, include documents related to the bequeathal of a business to beneficiaries.

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Concurrent Wills offer a strategic framework for managing cross-border estates, ensuring that the wishes of the testator are honoured in each jurisdiction. Navigating the complexities of international assets requires careful planning, legal expertise, and a thorough understanding of the specific laws governing each country.

By following the recommended steps and seeking professional advice, individuals can create concurrent wills that provide clarity, efficiency, and peace of mind in the intricate realm of international estate planning.

FAQs on Concurrent Wills

Q1. Can a person have multiple wills in different countries?

Answer: Yes, it is possible, but compliance with respective countries’ laws is crucial. Explicitly state that subsequent wills cannot replace previous ones.

Q2. What challenges may arise when a person has multiple wills in different jurisdictions?

Answer: Challenges arise from varying legal requirements in different jurisdictions. Consulting specialized lawyers is highly recommended to navigate these challenges effectively.

Q3. Can foreign citizens, including NRIs, inherit assets in India?

Answer: Yes, foreign citizens, including NRIs, can inherit various assets in India.

Q4. Who can be named as beneficiaries in a will?

Answer: Testators can include a wide range of beneficiaries, from family members to institutions and charitable trusts.

Q5. Are concurrent wills recognized in all jurisdictions?

Answer: Generally recognized, but laws governing their creation and execution may vary. Consult with a local attorney to ensure legal validity.

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Adv. Praneeth GN

Adv. Praneeth GN


4.8 | 85+ User Reviews

Praneeth GN is a legal consultant who prioritises ethical and professional conduct. He graduated with (B.A. and LL.B) from the K.L.E. Society Law College. With more than 8 years of experience in handling legal cases independently. He has the potential to understand and explain complicated legal words in simple terms to clients.

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