Every person in Illinois or anywhere in the United States should do basic estate planning including a will and powers of attorney for property and healthcare. As you know, a will is a legal document that controls what will happen to your assets when you are gone. By doing a will, you can make sure your family and friends know who you want to handle your affairs after your death and who you want to receive your house, car, bank accounts and anything else you own.
In addition to owning property in the United States, many Illinois residents originally from Mexico own real estate there. Other people with relatives in Mexico may inherit real estate there when family members pass away. If you own real estate in Mexico now or will likely do so in the future, you need to address that in your estate planning.
A will done in Illinois or any other U.S. state will not necessarily determine what will happen to real estate you own in Mexico. Your real estate in Mexico will need to be addressed in Mexico. Therefore, you should consult with a lawyer or other legal representative in Mexico to learn how Mexican law will deal with your real estate when you are gone and what your estate planning options are there. It is always best to address these issues now rather than putting your family in the position of having to go through the difficult and expensive process of dealing with them after you are gone. Although you will incur additional costs in doing estate planning in both the U.S. and Mexico, spending something now will avoid even more costs and headaches for your family after you are gone and insure your property goes to who you want to have it.
Your Mexican legal expert may advise you to do a will in Mexico to deal with your real estate there. Your will in Mexico will be in addition to a U.S. will. If you do a will in Mexico, one important thing to be aware of is that most wills begin with a statement that all earlier wills are revoked. As a result of that statement, you would revoke your U.S. will at the time you sign a later Mexican will. To avoid that, your Mexican will should recognize your U.S. will and not revoke it. Likewise, any will you do in the U.S. after signing your Mexican will should recognize your Mexican will and not revoke it. To make sure the two wills do not conflict with one another, contact Steve Wade in our General Practice department to communicate with your legal expert in Mexico. By working with your legal expert in Mexico, our attorney can make sure your assets—both those in the U.S. as well as those in Mexico— go to who you want to have them after your death.