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Single-jurisdictional wills not straightforward to set up

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    The process sounds easy enough, but to accomplish the twin goals of privacy and limits on creditor’s claims, careful drafting is required. Consider three examples.

    First, care must be taken to ensure that the several Wills do not mistakenly mention property located elsewhere (outside the jurisdiction of the Will’s situs). The same is true about mentioning the testator’s domicile. If one of the Wills mentions these things, it may undermine the plan for privacy.

    Second, special international considerations should be given to the selection of the source of payment of the testator’s debts and death taxes, and specific bequests. For example, if Will A indicates that the executor (of Will A) is to pay your unsecured debts, funeral expenses, last illness expenses, and the expenses of administering your estate out of Checking Account A, and Will B says the same but mentions Checking Account B, which prevails? It would be uncanny to alert a creditor to property located in another jurisdiction simply because of a drafting error by your attorney.

    Third, special care must also be given for the proper selection of executors that qualify in the multiple foreign jurisdictions in which the testator owns property. In other words, it may not be feasible to name the same person as the executor of your Will (this is the person who oversees the probate of your estate).

    These are just three of the many other examples of how special attention needs to be given when it comes to drafting several single-jurisdictional Wills.

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