Client with Complications From 3 Separate Last Will & Testaments

Client with Complications From 3 Separate Last Will & Testaments

  • Applicant: Ms. Hua
  • Nationality: Chinese and African
  • Applying For: Last Will & Testament
  • Time: 1 Day
  • Challenges:
    • 3 separate Last Will & Testaments
    • Communicating overseas
    • Formatting needed to be the same across all three documents
    • Understanding the differences in law across the world
    • Needed to be done extremely quickly

 

BACKGROUND

The last thing you want to leave your family when you pass on from this life is a headache regarding the disbursement of your assets. Legal battles over assets of passed away loved ones can drive life-long wedges between family members and cause wounds that never heal. A Last Will & Testament is an excellent way to avoid those battles. Your assets will be dispersed by your own word, there’s nothing to fight over in a court of law. However, for Ms. Hua, her life is anything but simple. She is of Chinese descent and is a citizen of China, but she was born in South Africa, so she had citizenship there as well. During her life, she also became a U.S. citizen. In covering her bases, she created a Last Will & Testament in both Africa and China. When she was put into litigation in China over the disbursement of her assets, the law firm she employed in China contacted us so that we could draw up a Last Will & Testament for her in the U.S. style, something that would help clear up the litigation in China.

 

KEYS TO SUCCESS

We have been here for over thirty years, and we have worked with other firms across the world in solving our clients’ needs. Our wealth of experience in doing so meant that when Ms. Hua’s Chinese law firm contacted us, the actual process of working with them and drawing up a new Will for Ms. Hua was not as big an issue for us as it might be for less experienced offices.

The difficulty in this case was in the details however. In the U.S., wills that dispose of multi-million dollar assets, like Ms. Hua had, generally don’t go into the finer details of how to dispose of those assets. Those things are left to be trusted. But because she needed a will that matched her other wills both in intent and format, we had to get creative in the way that we drew up her U.S. Last Will & Testament to include things like dispersing 5/8ths of a building complex to one of her children while dispersing 3/8ths of that same complex to another one of her children.

“A lot of what we do when working with attorneys and law firms around the world is simply understanding the differences in law. Because we’ve been doing this kind of work for 30 years, we are very efficient and can keep costs low for our clients. We were happy that we could easily solve her problem, even though it was a complicated case.” Joseph Tsang, Attorney

When working with other lawyers, time becomes a big issue. Every client deserves to have an efficient and thorough job done, but having multiple law offices working on your case can get quite expensive rather quickly. Luckily, our experience working with lawyers in China streamlined the process. Working with lawyers also is generally faster than working with clients, because lawyers usually have an exact idea of what they need, while clients are obviously less versed in law and require more explanation and back and forth to communicate their needs properly.

That said, working with Chinese lawyers in the U.S. Last Will & Testament while trying to match the formats of both a Chinese will and an African will was quite an undertaking. It is these unique situations which immigration law runs on, however, so we have an office full of lawyers and others who know how to get the job done even in the most unique sets of circumstances. A will is usually something so simple that we just consult with our clients and they are able to finish them on their own. However, Ms. Hua’s situation was anything but simple. Despite the complexity, we were able to keep our costs to Ms. Hua down to a simple consolation fee, a major win for her and her Chinese law firm.

 

OUTCOME

It only took us one day to draw up Ms. Hua’s U.S. Last Will & Testament. Both our previous experience dealing with overseas law and working with an international lawyer allowed us to complete the job quickly and thoroughly for our client. Within a month, the litigation in China had ended and her various wills across the world became executable, ending Ms. Hua’s worries that she would leave behind far more litigation than she intended to.