MyExpatWill™ (U.S.) - Write a Will to Cover Your U.S. Assets, When Living Overseas
"I used your service to write a Will for my dear wife Christine who passed
away this year. The Will was easy to fill out and very straightforward. I never
had one problem arise because of the Will." ---
Keith Sutton Read more
What They Say About Us
Do you own assets in the United States, but live in a different country? Or do you now live in the United States, but already have a Will covering your assets in your home country?
Our MyExpatWill™ service has been designed for people who are living in a different country to their assets, or they have assets in multiple countries.
Specifically, the MyExpatWill™ (U.S.) service allows you to prepare a Will to cover assets in the United States when you are living outside the United States.
Do you own assets in Canada, but live in a different country? Learn about the MyExpatWill™ (Canada) service
Do you own assets in England or Wales, but live in a different country? Learn about the MyExpatWill™ (U.K.) service
If you own assets in a more than one country, then you need an Expatriate Will.
Your assets in each country will be probated according to the laws of that country. In order to do this,
the probate courts need to accept the Will, which means that the Will must be written under local law.
The probate process validates your document as the official Last Will and Testament, and appoints your Executor as the estate administrator.
If your assets are in the US, then the probate courts will only accept a Will written under US law.
To support this, we offer an Expat Wills service, dealing with situations where you have assets in multiple countries or assets held in a country where you are not residing.
- If you are from the U.S. living abroad, and need a Will to cover your U.S. assets, you can use the MyExpatWill™ service to create a Will, whether or not you have a Will in your country of residence.
- If you are new to the U.S. and have assets in another country, and already have a Will in place for that country, you can use the MyExpatWill™ service to create a Will for your U.S. assets.
The above examples are for the United States, but the MyExpatWill™ service also supports the creation of Expatriate Wills for assets in Canada and the United Kingdom.
This is NOT just a do-it-yourself legal will kit.
No blank form do-it-yourself Will kit supports the creation of Wills for Expats.
You cannot use a standard Will form for this situation.
Our service will guide you through the process, to ensure that your Will covers your US assets and does not interfere with any Will you may have written for any other country.
DIY will kits cannot even begin to address the special needs of an Expatriate Will.
Read what makes us better
We have removed the obstacles to writing a US Will when you are living outside of the US.
There are three options for preparing your Will to cover your US assets.
The most basic approach is to prepare a Will by handwriting it yourself. Although this is legal, it is an extremely difficult approach to writing a well-drafted Will.
Alternatively, you can use a Will writing professional, but for Expats this is problematic. You would need to find somebody who is licensed to practice law in the US, but living outside of the US.
The best approach when using this method is to travel to the US to prepare your Will, but this is of course expensive and inconvenient.
It also requires you to travel back to the US every time you need to update your Will.
Fortunately, now there is a third way. You can use our MyExpatWill™ service to create your US Will for your United States held assets, from anywhere in the world.
You simply step through our nine sections. All questions are written in plain language, so you don't have to be a legal expert to create your own Expatriate Will.
You simply answer the questions, complete the details, and we automatically and instantly format a document that forms the basis of a legal Expatriate Will.
You then just download and print the document, and then sign it in the presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries.
Once you sign, and the witnesses sign, it is a fully legal document.
This whole process can be completed at any time, night or day, from anywhere in the world.
Keep your Last Will and Testament updated.
Many things can happen that would trigger the need for an update to your Will.
You could have a change in your own personal or financial situation, or there could be a change to anybody named in your Will, such as your beneficiaries or your Executor.
If you need to update your Will, you can simply login to your account. If your account is still active, you can make unlimited updates to your Will.
Simply make the change, print a new Will, and then sign and witness the new document. It's that easy.
It certainly beats returning to your US attorney, or the firm of lawyers you are using in South Africa.
We offer the option of a legal review.
Our services have been developed in collaboration with top estate planning law professionals in the South Africa, UK, Canada and the US.
We are confident that our service can be used to create a high quality, lawyer-grade Last Will and Testament.
But you may have a particular circumstance and need the peace of mind that comes from a review of your Will.
For a discounted fee, we offer the option of having a member of our estate planning team review your document for consistency and completeness.
They will provide detailed feedback and suggestions.
You need a Will.
Sadly, most people don't have a Will. Even if they live in South Africa and their assets are held in South Africa, most people don't have a Will.
But everybody needs a Last Will and Testament. It causes no end of trouble for your family and loved ones if you die without a Will.
Traditionally, it has been inconvenient and expensive to prepare a Will, particularly when your assets are located in a different jurisdiction from your country of residence.
You may feel that the distribution of your assets is obvious, or that the process is just too complicated.
But dying without a Will places a tremendous burden on your family.
You can now write a Will for your US assets in less than 30 minutes using our MyExpatWill™ (U.S.) service.
It is impossible for us to know how your estate will be distributed, but we do know that if you have an Expatriate Will, then the decisions are in your hands.
Create your Expatriate Will for the United States right now using the MyExpatWill™ (U.S.) wizard
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MyExpatWill™- Frequently Asked Questions
If you live in South Africa, and all of your assets are in South Africa, you can use our standard MyWill™
If, however, you have assets in the US, we recommend that you prepare a separate Will for those assets.
You can use the MyExpatWill™ (U.S.) service for those assets.
Many people may require a Will created through the MyWill™
service as well as the MyExpatWill™ service.
An "Expatriate" Last Will and Testament deals only with assets held in the US.
We also support assets held in the UK and Canada.
This Will works together with any Will you may have written to cover assets in any other country.
The Expat Will does not cancel or over-ride your existing Will; it deals exclusively with your US assets.
If you do have assets in the US, and you are living outside of the US, then you need a Will, and the Expat Will service is designed specifically for your situation.
Our Expat Will service has been developed by top estate planning law professionals in the US, UK and Canada.
For the vast majority of people, the service is all that you need to prepare a lawyer-grade Last Will and Testament.
However, there are some circumstances where we would recommend that you seek legal advice.
- If you are involved in a matrimonial dispute, or wish to disinherit your spouse or children.
- If you have a history of mental illness, or the question of your mental capacity may be raised in objection to the statements in the Expatriate Will.
- If you are under the age of adulthood.
- If you have a large, complex estate and feel that you would benefit from some advice on estate planning and tax reduction.
- If you need to provide for long term medical care for a dependent.
- If you think that somebody may challenge your Expatriate Will in court or you have any other doubts about your situation.
If any of these situations apply to you, or you have any doubts, we would recommend that you seek advice from a local lawyer.
If you are not sure, just email us at
and we will be happy to provide you with some guidance.
We do not recommend this. Your assets in each country must go through the probate process for each country.
This means that you must have a Will that is written under the laws of that country.
For example, if you hold assets in the US, and these assets were to be probated, you cannot submit a Will written under Sharia law in Dubai.
The US courts will not accept it.
Probate is the process by which your Will is accepted as the legitimate Last Will and Testament and your
Executor is granted the authority to act as your estate administrator.
The Executor is given a "grant of administration", which they can present to the bank and other financial institutions
in order to gather your assets for distribution to the beneficiaries. This whole process starts with a legal Last Will and Testament.
Without a Will, the process for appointing the estate administrator and gathering your assets can take a very long time.
Until the foreign component of the Will is completed, the estate cannot be finalized.
It makes much more sense to have a Will for each jurisdiction, with an appropriate Executor named for each Will.
The estate planning challenges associated with holding assets in many different countries has been known for a while.
Back in the 1970's, The Uniform International Wills Act was put in place in an attempt to allow one Will to dispose of property in multiple jurisdictions.
Unfortunately, it wasn't universally adopted, and in order to work it requires that all of your assets are located in a jurisdiction that supports the act.
In Canada and the United States, some States and Provinces support it, but others do not.
The U.K. does support it, but the vast majority of EU countries do not (France yes, Spain and Germany no).
In practice, the Act offers no advantage over preparing a Will for each country in which you hold assets.
Blank form Will kits are terrible, even for the most basic of needs.
For more complex situations, like owning assets in more than one country, they do not come close to addressing your needs.
For an informative and eye-opening comparison of the MyWill™ service to do-it-yourself legal will kits, read about it here
There are many advantages to using an online interactive service like the one at LegalWills.co.za.
Our service guides you through the process, offering you help every step of the way.
You know that every time you use our service, it has been updated to reflect the most recent changes in the law.
You are also able to update your documents at any time, from anywhere in the world, from a computer, tablet or smartphone.
Our service is also tried and tested. We have been offering this service for over
Many of our Wills have been through the probate process, and not once have we heard of an issue with one of our Wills going through the court processes.
Specifically, for an Expat Will, there is not a single do-it-yourself Will kit that is designed to be used when as estate crosses international boundaries.
At LegalWills.co.za, we have harnessed the power of the Internet to provide many other value added services.
You can prepare a Will for your South Africa assets, and a complementary one for your US assets.
You can then use our MyMessages™
service to pass critical information onto your loved ones at the appropriate time.
We also offer a MyFuneral™
service to help you describe your funeral wishes.
You can also use our MyLifeLocker™
service to make sure that the
right information gets to the right people at the right time.
You can use our service to prepare a legally binding Will for your US assets.
The cost for the service is
and this includes one year of unlimited updates to your Expat Will.
You can, if you wish, choose to store your documents online for longer than a year, which will make it easier to make updates
in the future to reflect any changes in your personal or financial situation (rather than returning to a lawyer each time).
This is of course optional, but it does make the process of maintaining your document more convenient.
will give you one additional year of updates, or you can purchase multiple years:
5 years at
10 years at
25 years at
(a little over
The complete pricing structure is available on our Products & Prices
To make your document a legal Last Will and Testament that will be accepted by the probate courts in the US, you should firstly download and print it.
It must then be signed in the presence of two adult witnesses who are not beneficiaries in the Will.
These can be any two adults (friends, neighbours, co-workers), as long as they have nothing to gain from the contents of the Will.
Once it is signed and witnessed, it becomes a legal Last Will and Testament. There is no requirement to have the document notarised,
stamped, or signed by a lawyer. Nor does the document need to be registered or submitted at a local embassy.
You simply store the document somewhere safe, in a place that is known and accessible to your Executor.
After you have passed away, your Executor should take the document to your local probate court, where it is accepted as your Will and filed with the courts.
With the basic cost of preparing the Expat Will, we include one year of unlimited updates to the document.
You also have the option of extending this beyond one year.
On average, our customers log into their account 2.4 times a year.
There are many reasons why you may want to review or update your Will.
Clearly, a change in marital status or family situation should prompt a review of your Will,
but even a change in circumstance to anybody named in the Will may trigger a change.
For example, your alternate Executor may be taken ill, or one of your beneficiaries may have come into some money.
Maybe you have been touched by a charity that you now want to acknowledge in your Will.
The list is endless, but by using the service at LegalWills.co.za, updates are convenient and affordable.
You can choose to have a 1-year, 10-year, 25-year or Life membership at LegalWills.co.za,
during which time you can make as many updates or amendments to your Expatriate Will as you wish, at no extra charge.
More details regarding the membership packages available can be found when making your purchase.
Please bear in mind that we do not keep credit card details on file.
We can never automatically charge anything and there is nothing to cancel.
You will never find a mysterious charge on your credit card statement.
If you have already decided who you will appoint in the key positions, like your Executor,
and you have a good idea of how your estate will be distributed, then you can create your Expat Will to cover your US assets in as little as 20 minutes.
Once the document is downloaded, you then just have to sign it in the presence of two witnesses.
But you do not have to complete the Will service in one sitting.
You can take up to one year to answer all of the questions.
You may need to consult with friends and family, you may have an extensive list of specific bequests.
You may want to read all of the online help as you step through the service.
There is no rush, and you can take as long as you wish to prepare your Will.
However, nobody should be living without a Last Will and Testament in place, so we would encourage you to complete your Will as soon as possible.
Yes. We do not store any information in plain text on our servers. In fact, we do not store Will documents at all.
The information that you enter into our service is an encrypted series of data values that is only converted into a
readable Will when you login to your account and submit the command to generate the Will.
We use the most advance encryption technologies and are dedicated to the security of your data.
Most importantly, every single employee at LegalWills.co.za has been with the company for over ten years.
We do not outsource any work overseas, so all of your information is in safe hands.
We do not sell, trade, exchange or share any personal data with any third party organisations whatsoever.
We charge for our services. We do not generate any revenue from the sharing of data.
You can read more about our approach to privacy and security on our Security
A joint Expatriate Will is a single document, signed by "co-testators" (usually spouses), intended to reflect the wishes of both parties.
These were popular many years ago, as they saved the time required to type out two similar documents.
They also worked well back in the day when we viewed the assets as primarily belonging to the man of the house and the wife did not have her own assets.
The problem was, they caused a lot of issues when one of the partners passed away, and the surviving partner was bound by terms of the Will that no longer made any sense.
Hardly any lawyers practicing today offer joint Wills.
Instead, each partner would prepare their own Will, naming each other as the primary beneficiary.
They would then describe a backup plan in case they were both involved in a common accident.
This is called a pair of "Mirror Wills", and is fully supported using our service.
In fact, we offer a 40% discount off the second Will, so it costs
instead of the standard
By taking this approach, it allows each partner to include things like specific bequests to charities
and a slightly different distribution plan for their share of jointly held assets.
Our service is a self-help tool, allowing you to prepare your own Last Will and Testament for your US assets.
We do not provide legal advice and cannot prepare your Will on your behalf.
If you need a Will written that cannot be created using our service, then we recommend that you seek legal advice.
We are unable to offer you legal advice of this nature.
No. There is no legal requirement to use a lawyer or lawyer to prepare your own Will.
In fact, this service allows you to do everything you need to prepare your Will without the use of a lawyer.
You simply download and print the document, and then sign it in the presence of two witnesses to make it a legally binding Last Will and Testament.
No lawyer or lawyer required.
We would encourage you to step through the service. We offer help every step of the way to answer questions about specific sections.
If you have general enquiries, or need information about the other services available, you can browse this website
or send an email to
We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Create your Expatriate Will for the United States right now using the MyExpatWill™ (U.S.) wizard
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