Why you should make a Portuguese will for your assets in Portugal?

If you are resident and/or registered for tax in Portugal and have assets here, whilst it is not necessary to make a ‘Portuguese will’ or a will to deal with your assets in Portugal, for various reasons it is advisable for you to do so.

First, it is important to understand which Portuguese laws would be potentially applicable to your inheritance, particularly rules concerning the administration of a person’s estate on death as well as the inheritance and tax laws that could be applicable and which may not recognize or uphold what you may have determined in a will made at the jurisdiction from which you are a national (for instance, Portuguese Law does not recognize the concept of trusts which may lead to some issues, particularly from a tax perspective).

Other important aspect that justifies you having a ´Portuguese will` is the so called ‘forced heirship’ rules that will be applicable under Portuguese Law and which will prevent you to exclude your children from your will, for example.

Under EU Regulation known as ‘Brussels IV’, the laws of the country where someone habitually resided will apply to the property upon their death. This means that Portuguese Law could be potentially applicable to your inheritance in spite of your nationality. Therefore, and in order to ensure that the applicable law will be the one that you choose (either the Portuguese law or the law of your nationality), it is advisable to make a ‘choice of law’ statement clearly in the will. The validity requirements of your ´Portuguese will` will be defined based on the applicable Portuguese Law which demands for specialized advice on inheritance planning issues. Also to avoid or mitigate the risks of inadvertent revocation when there are numerous wills.

A ´Portuguese will´ further allows to avoid delays in the administration of the estate as it will allow to proceed with the probate process following death without having to wait to receive documents from other jurisdictions as part of the probate process.

The content of this information does not constitute any specific legal advice; the latter can only be given when faced with a specific case. Please contact us for any further clarification or information deemed necessary in what concerns the application of the law.