Creating a Portuguese will


Has anyone created a Portuguese will so that assets can be passed on to your spouse and children ?
How much would it cost ?
What resources are needed to create one ? (witnesses, documents from home country etc)
I am just worried what happens to my IMGA Acoes portugal investment if I croak. Bison bank does not have an option to add beneficiary which is very hard to believe. Every bank in the modern world has the option to add beneficiary, to pay on death of account holder.

This link might be a good start

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Our portuguese immigration attorney wrote a fairly boilerplate will for us, I think it cost around €500, maybe less. We had to appear in person in front of a notary to have it, and the translation, signed and notarized. But you do need one as your home country’s will only covers assets in your home country, at least that’s what we were told is the case for the US.

Pretty much the same experience as Jim above. Immigration lawyer drafted a will covering only the Portuguese assets, translated, took us to a notary to sign and notarise. You need to carry your passport. IIRC the costs were around €500 per person including the notary fees.

We chose the notarised ‘public will’ in preference to the ‘private will’ (which needs to be hand-written), seems clearer, safer and easier to execute.

I think there is more to it than that. Portugal has forced inheritance, so if you have an existing estate plan that departs from that (as a lot of folks do) you need a Portuguese will that directs your non-Portugal assets to be disposed of in accordance with the other will. At least that’s what we’ve been told.

Sorry but UK banks dont allow you to add a beneficiary. You can open a joint account with another person but you immediately both own 50% and both of you can immediately take money out. In the UK if you die your bank freezes your account until probate is given. I havent a clue what happens in Portugal nor about inheritance tax in Portugal and in your country of domicile and if a US citizen your country of tax residency.

The issue of inheritance is far more complex than adding a beneficiary to a bank account and needs specialist advice.

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Millennium explained it to me this way: in a joint account, on being advised of the death of one, the bank will freeze their half until their estate is probated in PT. The other half is available to the survivor.

So hie thee to the bank, open a new account and transfer the money out, or accept some of it being frozen for some time until the PT will is probated, or for years without a PT will.

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Thank you for this update but some readers will not be domiciled in Portugal and so the rules of their country of domicile will also apply. Ironically although in the UK the entire account is frozen if in one person’s death, if it is a joint account they simply remove the neame of the deceased and nothing is frozen!!!

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The bank rep says they will need will and identification of heirs to transfer the assets.

My immediate heirs will be my spouse and children. I am not sure how they will disburse the assets among each of them. And will the minors account, be even allowed to be liquidated. Many unknowns.
I was looking at certificate of inheritance document from the embassy of portugal . Its not a cake walk.

There is a chance of a huge sum of money getting locked up in Portuguese bureaucracy and law if the primary account holder dies.

This is not correct. In a joint account in the UK, both parties have rights to 100% of what’s in the account. If one party dies, the account automatically passed to the surviving joint account holder with no need for probate.

Similar rules with property - if you own property as joint tenants then your share automatically passes to the survivor with no need for probate on your death. If tenants in common, then you will need to go through probate. Joint tenants therefore makes sense for say married people where you are leaving everything to your spouse. Tenants in common may make more sense if say you are buying with a friend or sibling, and they may not be the intended beneficiary in your will.

The rules differ in different countries, so always worth checking. It’s really important to think about these things if your dependents will need money to live on in the short-term in the event of your death, as probate can take a long time, particularly across multiple countries.

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Thank you Beanieskis - that is what I posted. Glad we agree

A will is a very risky subject to discuss on a discussion forum. It’s not like discussing GV rules or Biometrics experiences. Everyone is different in this respect. Work with a Portuguese lawyer to draw up a Portuguese will. Try and keep it in line with the concept of your existing will in your home country. When the will is notarised in Portugal, get a notarised copy in your own language. Then get similar wording introduced into your existing home country will. Then you have a fair chance of your wishes being interpreted in the same way in both countries. On another point, I have (had) bank accounts in a number of countries and have never seen a clause about where the money goes after…

Agreed you should use an attorney. We used RH Solicitors in Lagos, not our immigration attorney in Lisbon as their costs are outrageous and correspondence is poor.

Rute Herdadinha is very reasonable. We just did our Will last October. I wish we had known to use her when we started our GV. Anyway, her fees for preparing, translating and having 2 witnesses for the will were 300,00€ (VAT included). The notary fee is 163,91€ (vat included) for registering and archiving the will. If only one of you is the owner of the investment, you only need 1 Will.

I would highly recommend her to anyone. We use her husband as our accountant. Both are fantastic!

Moderator edit: Please don’t share personal contact details in public. They can be shared via direct message instead.

Thanks everyone. I got my will created last week during my visit to lisbon.
I made it inline with my will in USA. It costed 550 euros in lawyer fee and some 160 euros in notary fee. Gives me peace of mind now.

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@jpgoldenvisa who did you use in Lisbon? My lawyer quoted me 3K euros + notary fees, which seems out of line with other quotes, I’ve seen.

I messaged you.