Project Description

Case Study

UK clients moving abroad and being concerned about dying away from UK

We help clients who no longer live in the UK, or who are planning to move abroad and we recently acted for a couple who have property in Italy and intended to make this their permanent home. They did not own a property in the UK, but did have savings which they intended to keep in their UK bank account.

In this situation, our clients wanted legal advice in relation to the EU Succession Regulation as well as the preparation of Wills incorporating a choice of which country’s law would apply to their estates.

Action taken

Advise clients on relevant international law and its effect on their estate and preparation of Wills to protect their wishes.


Peace of mind knowing that their affairs are in good order so that their wishes will be met without interference from abroad.

How this helped

They advised us that they would prefer English Law to apply to their succession because it was the law that they were the most familiar with.

They also wanted to avoid the ‘forced heirship’ rules that apply in Italy. We provided advice on the EU Succession Regulation, which came into force for deaths on or after 17 August 2014.

This affected the couple as they have a connection to more than one country, and one of those countries is an EU member state where the Regulation applies. Although the Regulation does not apply here in the UK (because the UK did not sign it), it affects the way that our laws interact with the rules of the EU member states where it does apply.

As the Regulation applies in Italy, this means that if the couple are ‘habitually resident’ in Italy at the time of their deaths, the default position will be that Italian law will govern their succession as a whole.

The default position could be overridden if they chose to apply the law of their nationality instead and this was the choice they made in their Wills. As both were British, this allowed them to apply the law of England and Wales to their case.

With considerable speculation about Britain’s position in Europe and our future relationship with EU countries, it is important to understand that rather than one law applying, there could be two or more to taken into consideration.

If you are thinking of moving abroad and need legal advice or assistance with making a Will, then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help.

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