How does american wills work for foreign citizens?

Theoretical situation:

Jack (age 53, single, no children, have parents) lives in USA and his best friend Paul has recently moved to- and become a citizen of Spain. If Jack were to write a will stating that any and all assets would go to Paul, what would happen?

1) Would the will be rendered invalid because Paul is not an american citizen?

2) Would his parents get his assets because they’re his family?

3) Would there be any tax?

4) If Paul may inherit; how long will it take, from Jack’s death to when Paul recieves the assets?

Thank you

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2 Responses to “How does american wills work for foreign citizens?”

  1. patrickmcc55 Says:

    1. Citizenship has no bearing on the benefactor
    2. Jack may leave his assets to whomever he wishes. His parents may contest the will, but if it is a valid will, then they can not claim any ownership based purely on their relationship.
    3. Depends upon the size of the estate, and which state he resided. All taxes are paid from the estate prior to settlement
    4. Again, depends upon a number of factors. If the will is contested, it could take years. (Remember, Anna Nicole Smith and her former husbands son are both dead, and that will is still in court) Also depends upon the speed of the executor, and the complexity of the estate. Could take as little as 6 weeks, could take 6 months or longer.

  2. MLaw Says:

    Where the beneficiary lives makes no difference (unless they live in Cuba or No. Korea with which US has certain currency restrictions). If Paul has to sign anything, he can do it in Spain. If anything needs to be notarized he can have a Spanish Notary or a US Consular official attest to the signature.