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week we are focusing on estate planning – specifically, creating a will. In the
BVI, many persons die intestate
(i.e. without a will), leaving their loved ones embroiled in legal battles in
order to acquire their assets. These legal battles prove to be costly, both
financially and emotionally, and often times, much of the estate remains in
limbo for a number of years because of unresolved issues among survivors. Disputes surrounding intestacy have been commonplace in the BVI for decades now and could be significantly reduced if persons would create wills.
a will is – or should be – an important and prudent part of taking care of your
finances. When you create a will, you ensure that your assets are distributed
according to your wishes once you pass away. You ensure that the loved ones that
you want to inherit your assets, do. Those loved ones may include illegitimate
children, adopted children and close friends, who are, according to BVI law,
ineligible to inherit your possessions. It is important to note that under BVI
law, illegitimate children born out of wedlock have no inheritance rights.
you do not create a will and die intestate, the law decides what happens to
your assets. According to BVI law, your assets would be generally disposed in the following order of descent:
If you have a legal surviving spouse, to:
If you have no surviving spouse, to:
In order to create a valid will: 1) you must be 18 or older; 2) of sound mind; 3) the will must be written; 4) signed and dated; and 5) witnessed by two or more persons. While you may be able to create a valid will without the help of an attorney, it may be best to seek professional help to ensure that your document is in order.
You should also be prepared to review your will regularly to ensure that it remains up to date with your life changes (marital status, recent births, adoptions or deaths in your family, value of assets that you know own, etc.).
Your Prescription for Week 11
This week, we are
encouraging you to review your will (or create a will if you do not have one). To
prepare for reviewing or creating your will, you need to do the following:
If you already have a
If you don’t have a
British Virgin Islands Financial
P.O. Box 418
Road Town, Tortola, VG 1110
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30a.m. - 4:30p.m.