Take Advantage of the Mes de Testamento in March in Mexico



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Are You a Foreigner With Assets in Mexico?

 
gisela talamantesBy 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 months.

 WHAT IS A MEXICAN WILL? 


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.

 WHAT STEPS TO FOLLOW TO GRANT A MEXICAN WILL WITH BAJA LEGAL SOLUTIONS?

  • We will interview you and fill the corresponding forms needed to draft your will and testament.
  • We will draft the will per your instructions in English for your review. Once the will is approved we will translate it into Spanish.
  • We will work and schedule an appointment with the Notary Public of your choice in order for you to execute the will in Spanish before the Notary Public. We will make sure all formalities were followed and that the Spanish version corresponds to your English version.
  • The Notary Public will issue your will and testament in deed format for you to keep in a safe place or give to your heirs.
  • The Notary Public has the obligation to send notice of your will to the National Registry of Notaries Archives.
  • Baja Legal Solutions will retrieve the original deed from the Notary Public office when ready and deliver it to you in person or to the designated party. Also if you instruct us, we will keep a copy in our records for future reference.

 WHAT TO BRING?

  • Current passport.
  • Immigration document.
  • Copy of your property titles or corporate documents in case you want to leave specific assets to different individuals.

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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