The Hague Convention on UK and International Wills

Published / Last Updated on 11/11/2020

The Hague Conference has 86 Members (85 States and the European Union) and develops multilateral legal instruments and agreements where different countries have different legal traditions, laws and customs to have a standard that all parties agree to operate within to remove conflicts in Private International Law.

There are currently 41 conventions i.e. international standards agreed on wide ranging areas such as Adoption, Road Traffic Accidents, Divorce, Child Maintenance, Legal Documents, Recognition of another country’s legal documents, Death, Succession and Wills.

The most common area we talk about this with clients is UK and International Wills.  This is covered by the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 on the “Conflicts of Laws Relating to the Form of Testamentary Dispositions”.  This is convention where a country’s legal system recognises a Will made in another country by a person who has died in the aforementioned country is key here.  E.g. You made a Will in the UK but you now live (and have died) in Australia.  Your UK Will, once it has an ‘Apostilles Seal’ affixed to it confirming that it is a legal Will in the UK will be accepted by the Australian Courts and vice versa.

If you are an internationally mobile person, whether an expat now living in UK or a British expat now overseas, it is wise to check your legal position to ensure that your legal documents and agreements are valid. 

Double check anything that may affect you legally for interests where you live or where your other interests are e.g. UK, France, Germany, Greece and Spain have all ratified the Hague Convention on Wills, e.g. your UK will would be recognised in these countries but many countries have not and indeed many countries do no ratify all of the conventions.

Who has signed the Hague Convention on Wills?

Full List of Hague Conventions:

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