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So who does inherit your property?  Silly question you might ask, for as you know you can decide who gets what.  This is not always the case though and if you are from a country that operates a Civil Code type of law (such as most of Europe and Central and South America etc.), the law could well state who gets what – up to a limit – and then you can choose.  This also can apply if you are a ‘Common Law’ person but the property is in a civil Code country and thus succession or forced heirship rules might come into play.   

If you are a ‘Common Law’ person i.e. come from a country that operates a Common Law legal system you can choose with much freedom as to who gets what but again here, there may be considerations that make the gifting of property difficult.  There are always family considerations and overall assets might be split to beneficiaries requiring the property to be sold.  Proprietary estoppel is another obstacle, as there are others.

One would be surprised at how property is owned.  We meet clients who think they own it, but it could well be (and the client could well have forgotten) owned in a number of different legal structures e.g. jointly, tenants in common, via a company structure, on trust etc. etc.  So, do you have proper legal title for it to be gifted under your Will or does it fall out of your estate.

For more information, do come in and enjoy a coffee with us.

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