The language barrier and your will....

The language barrier and your will....

The language barrier and your will….

by | Inheritance

As a will writer, you meet people from all walks of life and a myriad of backgrounds.  In order to help them write a will, you learn a lot about them, their family history and their roots.  Working internationally, the added dimension of language can often prove a barrier that must be overcome.

A person’s will must reflect their wishes and therefore for a will to be valid, they must ‘have knowledge of and approve of’ the content of the document that they sign.  A will must be ‘read over’ to a client before they execute the document.  They must confirm that the document delivers their intentions.

If you are drafting a will in a country where you are not fluent in the language or you have an investment asset such as property, your will writer should endeavor to ensure you understand each other.   An independent translator should be used if possible, preferably with experience in legal matters.  Using a member of your family or a close friend is not recommended and could leave your will at risk of a legal challenge after your death.   Increasingly, courts are seeing more challenges to wills supposing a lack of understanding by the testator due to language barriers.  The accusation of lack of knowledge and approval seems a soft option to challenge a will compared to testamentary capacity, for example.

Last month in the UK, Rakesh Gupta’s challenge to his late mother Urmila Gupta wills, executed in 1998 was rejected.  The will was written in favor of his younger brother but Rakesh alleged that his mother knew such little English that she would not have been able to read or understand the will.  The will was a mirror will, executed with Urmila and her husband simultaneously.  In these cases the burden of proof in cases of knowledge and approval is with the accuser and Deputy Judge Hollander concluded that the elder son had not demonstrated any suspicious circumstances.  Therefore, despite his mother’s alleged lack of English, her will stands.

If you have concerns over your legacy being understood, seek specialist help.  Wills Worldwide always works with local professionals who understand the language and local law to ensure your final wishes are met.  Contact us now for further assistance:

[email protected]

 

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Testimonials

"For various reasons, my situation turned out to be quite complicated and I needed two wills (as advised by UK...

Jenny Pearson, Consultant, Cambodia

2018-06-05T07:59:04+00:00

Jenny Pearson, Consultant, Cambodia

"For various reasons, my situation turned out to be quite complicated and I needed two wills (as advised by UK tax specialist) to keep my English and Cambodian assets completely separate. Cindy was able to work through all of that with me and I am confident that I now have everything properly covered."
"Cindy is knowledgeable, approachable, incredibly helpful, and highly professional. She helped me to understand the implications of my requests and...

Jayne Hilton, Engineer, UK

2018-06-05T08:30:28+00:00

Jayne Hilton, Engineer, UK

"Cindy is knowledgeable, approachable, incredibly helpful, and highly professional. She helped me to understand the implications of my requests and was always on hand to offer guidance and support. All in all an excellent service."
"It was a pleasure to work with Cindy and her team! Even though planning for one’s own death is a...

Jim Swander, CEO, Cambodia

2018-06-05T08:37:50+00:00

Jim Swander, CEO, Cambodia

"It was a pleasure to work with Cindy and her team! Even though planning for one’s own death is a project we all can easily put off, it removed an area of stress in my life. I no longer had to wonder if certain people would be taken care of, or where my money would go. Cindy and I worked through the process and she asked a lot of thought provoking questions. The first draft helped me think a second layer down, and made the will more complete. We finalised with her lawyer, signed, witnessed and put away in a safe place, letting my executor know exactly where to find it. I do not hesitate to recommend Cindy’s services."
"Cindy made the process of making a Will painless and efficient which we really appreciated. She was sensitive to avoid...

Moray Iles, Vietnam

2018-06-05T08:42:23+00:00

Moray Iles, Vietnam

"Cindy made the process of making a Will painless and efficient which we really appreciated. She was sensitive to avoid putting pressure or hassle to complete the Will quickly which allowed us to consider everything in our own time. Best of all, Cindy's professional support and thorough and clear explanation of the laws pertaining to our situation were very helpful. We would look forward to working with Cindy again on documents personal to our family."
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