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									    Guide to International Estate Planning

    Matthew D. Pineda, J.D. Candidate, Winter 2009
           Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center


                  Outline of sections
        I.    Brief Overview
   II.       Introductory Texts
  III.       List of Key Abbreviations
  IV.        Dictionaries and Directories
   V.         Treaties and Conventions
  VI.        Principal Institutions involved
 VII.        Case Law
VIII.        Secondary Sources and Journal Articles
  IX.        Blogs
   X.         Multimedia
  XI.        RSS feed
 XII.        Tutorials
XIII.        Research Guides
XIV.         Sample Research Question
 XV.         Conclusion
XVI.         LLM in Estate Planning

              I.     Brief Overview

     The purpose of this pathfinder is to aid in the research of topics concerning international
    wills, trusts, and estates. While research on these laws may be more common concerning
    one’s own home state or even home country, there may be times when clients will have
    issues concerning the matter that are global in scope. The pathfinder will list a variety of
    current resources that will aid in the research of international wills, trusts, and estates.
    This pathfinder should not be considered as exhaustive and encompassing of all resources
    and issues related to international wills, trusts, and estates.

              II.    Introductory Texts

    Vollmar, Valerie J.; Hess, Amy Morris; & Whitman, Robert (2002) An Introduction to
    Trusts and Estates Minnesota; West Group. (Basic overview of the laws of trusts and

    Schoenblum, Jeffry A. (2006) Multistate and Multinational Estate Planning, CCH, Inc.
    ("The objective of this book is to explore the legal aspects of individual wealth transfer
    across state and national boundaries”)
Glasson, John & Thomas, Geraint W. (2007) The International Trust , Jordans. (“in-
depth analysis of a range of highly topical issues of great significance in the area of
international trust law.”)

Chacellor Publications Limited (2004) The Trident Practical Guide to International Trusts
Chancellor Publications. (Guide to setting up off shoe trusts in various countries)

   III.    List of Key Abbreviations

UNIDROIT - International Institute for the unification of private law

GSTT - Generation Skipping Transfer Tax

PR -Personal Representative

HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

NRA - Non Resident Alien

DPA - Durable Power of Attorney

QDOT - Qualified Domestic Trust

   IV.     Dictionaries and Directories -Online Legal Dictionary (Wills and Estate Planning Section)

PB Directory - private banking directory when looking for bank to handle offshore trusts

   V.      Treaties and Conventions

IRS List of Tax Treaties - List of Tax Treaties of United States which of course is a factor
in figuring Estate taxes.

EISIL Wills, Trusts, and Estates Page – Page that contains international conventions on
Wills, Trusts, and Estates listed below.

Convention Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will - This is from
Washington D.C., October 26, 1973. This convention gives the form for execution of an
“international will” to be recognized as valid by signing member states.

Convention Concerning the International Administration of the Estates of Deceased
Persons - Concluded August 1, 1989. “This Convention establishes provisions to
facilitate the international administration of the estates of deceased persons.”
Convention Concerning the International Administration of Estates of Deceased Persons -
Entered into force July 1, 1993.

   VI.     Principal Institutions Involved

International Academy of Estate and Trust Law – website with list of member Nation

IRS - Internal Revenue Service

UN - United Nations

International Institute for the Unification of Private Law - UNIDROIT

   VII.    Case Law

Case Law Search at Mega Law - Use this site to search Supreme Court Decisions
concerning Wills, Trusts and Estates.

RE ESTATE OF LEUNG WAI JING – Case on issues arising from the probate of an
estate in Hong Kong. (Found on Westlaw, a pay site)

Estate of Peter Brock – Australian case on validity of will of an Australian citizen with
one validly executed will and two subsequently written informal wills. (Found on
Westlaw, a pay site)

Arnos v. R. - Canadian case concerning the tax issues of a Canadian Trust which had
trustees and beneficiaries that were all residents of The United States. (Found on
Westlaw, a paysite)

   VIII.   Secondary Sources and Journal Articles

A. These sources were taken from Westlaw, a pay site that is a legal search engine.

Rupprecht, Philip R. (1997). The Increasing Use of International Trusts , The Arizona
Attorney, The State Bar of Arizona. 34-NOV Ariz. Att'y 22- Discusses the basic structure
and advantages of an international trust. This article also describes the typical
international trust client, giving the example of physicians and surgeons who may want to
protect assets offshore as a backup to malpractice insurance. Risks of the international
trust, such as fraudulent conveyances are also discussed.

Rozansky, Allan E. (June, 1995) International Estate Planning , Colorado Lawyer
Specialty Column. 24 Colo. Law. 1305 – Discusses the importance of the estate planner
in determining status of clients as residents, expatriates, or non resident aliens, and
discusses importance of how estate planning techniques change accordingly.
Howard, Carly (Spring, 2006) Trust Funds in Common Law and Civil Law Systems: A
Comparative Analysis, University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review.
13 U. Miami Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 343 – “This paper focuses on theories which validate
and invalidate private trusts, as opposed to public or charitable trusts, and emphasizes the
world's attempts to harmonize differences in attitudes toward trusts. Topics include: 1)
definitions and formalities of trusts; 2) purposes and elements of a trust; 3) histories of
the common law trust and its civil law counterparts; 4) general principles of enforcement
and recognition of trusts.”

Trustees' Powers and Duties – site found by searching “International Trusts” on This Report recommends reform of the law in England and Wales and in
Scotland governing trustees’ powers to invest trust funds in default of the inclusion of
express powers of investment in the will or trust instrument. The Report also recommends for
England and Wales a range of reforms, intended to facilitate more effective trust

B. Some helpful secondary sources on Estate Law in specific countries.

United States – wills, trusts, and estates conventions under consideration for ratification
in the USA.

France - guide to succession laws in France.

United Kingdom - United Kingdom based site with tips on Trusts and Estates.

Canada – this is an excellent pathfinder on trust and estate law in Canada.

   IX.     Blogs

Wills, Trusts, and Estates Prof Blog - Law professor blog site on the topic of Wills,
Trusts, and Estates.

Death and Taxes- The Blog - Blog published by Joel Schoenmeyer, Attorney at Law.

   X.      Multimedia


Integrated Estate Planning – this is a video of Attorney Barry S. Engel about protecting
estates during the lifetime of the client including foreign based planning.

Power Point

International wills, trusts, and estates PowerPoint Google search – result lists useful
PowerPoints concerning the issue.

ALI/ALA International Trust and Estate Planning – deals with “estate planning for the
foreign client with U.S. connections and for the U.S. client with foreign connections”.

   XI.     RSS Feed

Wills, Trusts, and Estates Prof Blog: RSS Feed – this site covers news, scholarship and
topics relating to wills, trusts and estates.

   XII.    Tutorials

Tutorial on Offshore Asset Protection Trusts - Information on offshore trusts with
recommendations of which international jurisdictions to use.

WestLaw user guide - support on how to use the Westlaw engine, which is one of the
most useful engines in legal research.

Lexis Nexis tutorial -tutorial on how to use the Lexis engine, also another useful legal
research engine.

   XIII.   Research Guides

HG legal guide – this is the Estate and Trust Law guide with many informational sites.

   XIV. Sample Research Question

A client asks for the language necessary to make a will recognized internationally, what
is your response?

One of the links above is helpful in answering this question. The Convention Providing a
Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will would be most useful in looking for
the language needed to make sure this client’s will is recognized internationally. The will
must be written and can be in any language. The person must declare in the presence of
two witnesses that the document is his will and he knows the contents thereof. The
testator must then sign the will in the presence of the witnesses or acknowledge his
signature if he had previously signed. The authorized person (lawyer) and two witnesses
must then sign the will in the presence of the testator. The signatures must be at the end
of the will and if the will is multiple pages each page must be signed by the testator.
There is then a will certificate form provided in the text of the Convention in Article X
that is attached to the end of the will.

   XV.     Conclusion
It is inevitable for estate planners to come across a client with property in another
country, assets overseas, or intended beneficiaries around the world. It is important for
estate planners to know the laws of succession and trusts in a global perspective as
personal wealth in the world as we know it today travels more and more frequently
between nation states. This pathfinder was an attempt to enter that global estate planning
realm. Knowing international laws are important not only in administering estates after
death but in the protection of the estate during life via planning tools such as offshore
trusts. The best place to begin is by using EISIL and searching “Wills, Trusts, and
Estates”. The Conventions listed as a result are a great way to get an overview of
international laws concerning the matter.

   XVI. LLM in Estate Planning

Western New England School of Law – located in Springfield, Massachusetts.

University of Miami School of Law – located in Coral Gables, Florida

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