Are You a Foreigner With Assets in Mexico?

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Take Advantage of the Mes de Testamento in March

By Gisela Talamantes Saenz

During the months of March and September, the College of Public Notaries of the State of Baja California Sur reduces their fees by 50% for granting wills. Also, some Notary Public offices will extend their working hours to the public in order to facilitate the granting of wills during these two months.


The Mexican Will is a legal act where an individual leaves written instructions for his/her assets, property, rights and obligations after death, appointing heirs, executors, tutors, and beneficiaries.

In Mexico, the will is revocable, meaning that at any moment the individual may grant a new will, automatically cancelling the previous Mexican Will granted. It is a personal meeting; wills cannot be granted by a legal representative, through a power of attorney, a family member or a friend.

Foreigners may own real estate property in Mexico through the Mexican Fideicomiso or Mexican corporation. It is important to highlight that if a foreigner holds Mexican shares/stocks, granting a Mexican will may save his/her heirs from having to initiate an intestate proceeding before the Mexican family court or to homologate a foreign will in order for the court to appoint the new beneficiary of shares or stocks within the Mexican corporation. Both of these proceeding can be expensive and cumbersome. Let’s remember that the Mexican Fideicomiso includes a substitute beneficiary clause, therefore your beneficiary rights and those of your heirs are protected. With the figure of the Mexican corporation, there is no substitute beneficiary clause, therefore the Mexican will is the best legal tool to appoint beneficiaries of your shares or stocks and protect the real estate property acquired through Mexican corporations.

Also, very important, per Mexican law; the Mexican will follows strict formalities, therefore, the Notary Public must be very careful if the testator is a foreigner who is not proficient in the Spanish language. If this is the case, the testator must be assisted by an interpreter or an official translator that will also sign the will together with the testator before the Notary Public.  Without following the formalities outlined by the Mexican Civil Code, the will is subject to be challenged in court and nullified by parties holding an interest.

Baja Legal Solutions offers translation and interpreting services to help you grant your will, making sure there is no confusion with the Notary Public and/or his/her staff on the instructions you provide when granting your will, thus, protecting your heirs and Mexican assets.


  • Current passport.
  • Immigration document.
  • Copy of your property titles or corporate documents in case you want to leave specific assets to different individuals.
  • It is important to understand it may be difficult for your loved ones to deal with your estate if you do not have a Mexican Will. Foreign property owners should consult a Mexican attorney regarding their estate planning to help ease the burden of undue stress and expense for your family.

Gisela Talamantes Saenz, LL.M, Attorney at law and Official Translator. She holds a master’s degree in International Legal Studies from the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington DC.



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