Mexico Estate Planning
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A will in Mexico, or "testamento" in Spanish, is a legal declaration through which a person designates someone to manage their estate and provides for the distribution of his or her property upon death.
The Civil Codes of the various states and the Federal District in Mexico regulate wills in Mexico. Each state has its own nuances and requirements for drafting a will. In most states there are several ways to draft wills. Some types have advantages over others. Some types of wills should not be used at all.
Most states in Mexico recognize a will that was prepared outside of Mexico as valid if it is valid in the country and state in which it was drafted and executed. However, proving the validity of the foreign will to Mexican courts can sometimes be extremely difficult and expensive.
Generally, if there is no will the default probate rules of the applicable Civil Code for the particular state in which the assets are located will apply. These are called the intestate distribution rules.
The intestate or intestacy rules that apply in most states in Mexico provide that the estate is distributed to the decedent's children and to the surviving spouse. However, it is important to note that under such default rules, a surviving spouse is only entitled to an equal share of the estate that would correspond to an additional child. For example, if in the case of a family of a husband and wife with three children the husband dies then the estate would be divided up in four equal shares, one to each child and one to the surviving spouse. But in some states there are variations of this default rule and some even do not allow a surviving spouse to inherit anything if the decedent had children and the surviving spouse has more assets than a child's share of the decedent's estate.
Having a will or a trust that is valid in Mexico prevents the default intestate rules from applying. If you have property in Mexico make sure that you have a will or trust that will transfer such property according to your wishes.
Our law firm can counsel and represent you in preparing a will that is valid under Mexico's laws.
Contact us today for a courtesy conference call to discuss your options.