Succession Law in the U.S.A.
Many Brits own property in the United States but most of them don’t plan the way in which their property located in the United States will pass to their heirs at thetime of their death. This is extremely important given the fact that local State law regulates all inheritance and estate matters regarding property located in U.S. In this article we will explain someof the elements which are common to the different State laws but we always recommend taking into account the applicable local rules when seeking advice on inheritance and estate planning matters.The general rule in the U.S. is that the law of the State where decedent was domiciled at death governs the disposition of personal property, and the law of the State where the decedent’s realproperty is located governs the disposition of such property. For foreigners not domiciled in the U.S. the rules of the State where the property is located generally apply for all types of property. Contraryto other countries, for British decedents the British inheritance laws will not apply to any property located in the United States.
When a person has not disposed of his or her assets by a Will,or the Will for any reason is not valid under State law, the assets are distributed through a method known as “intestate succession”. The rules that that determine how the estate passes vary from Stateto State. For instance in New York a surviving spouse is entitled to the entire intestate estate if the decedent is not survived by children. However, under California intestate laws if a decedent isnot survived by children but is survived by his parents then they receive one half of the intestate estate and the spouse receives only the other half.
The adequate execution of a Will allows theowner of U.S. property to determine the way in which his or her property will pass upon his or her death. For a will to be valid the person making the will, also known as the testator, must meet the...
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