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Cayman Islands Wills & Probate Services

Planning for a future which you are not a part of may initially seem like a daunting task, however this is why obtaining clear legal advice could make all the difference. Our Wills and Probate attorneys in the Cayman Islands are available to provide expert guidance and support on the most effective legal structures available to protect your interests and ensure the safe transfer of wealth to future generations.

At Stuarts Humphries, we offer comprehensive Wills and Probate services for residents of the Cayman Islands and non-residents who have assets in the Cayman Islands such as real estate, shares in companies or bank accounts.

Without advanced planning in place, dealing with an individual’s final wishes and/or administering an estate can be contentious, time consuming, expensive and stressful. Our Wills and probate attorneys have significant expertise in drafting Wills and advising clients on the most effective methods to ensure their loved ones are not required to deal with these difficult issues and that their assets and legacy are transferred safely to the intended beneficiaries.

We can also assist with the proper execution of Wills and in obtaining grants of Probate from the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands as well as represent administrators in obtaining grants of administration where the deceased left no Will.

Our Cayman Islands Wills and probate lawyers can assist with matters such as:

  • Drafting Cayman Islands Wills and advising on related legislation
  • Estate Planning
  • Grants of Letters of Administration
  • Probate, Executorship and Inheritance
  • Mental Capacity, Elderly and Vulnerable Clients

Discuss your requirements with our Wills & probate lawyers in the Cayman Islands 

Contact our experienced team to learn more about our Wills & Probate legal services. To discuss more, get in touch with us today.

Cayman Islands Wills & local law

A Will dictates how a person wishes for their assets to be handled and passed on to designated beneficiaries following their death. As a part of the process, they also have the power to appoint chosen executors to administer their estate and follow the wishes set out in their Will.

Where someone owns Cayman Islands assets in their names, such as real estate, shares in a Cayman Islands property, or money in a Cayman Islands bank account, preparing a Cayman Islands Will is likely to be in their best interests – whether they are a resident of the Cayman Islands or not.

However, it is also important to note that the laws in the Cayman Islands outline that if someone does die leaving assets in the Cayman Islands, it is not possible for anyone to deal with those assets without first resealing any foreign grant of probate or letters of administration or obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration from the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands.

Our Cayman Islands Wills & probate services 

Wills and Estate Planning

Whether you need guidance on drafting a Will from scratch, or you need to make updates or additions to an existing Will to ensure it accurately reflect your wishes and how you would like your estate to be distributed, our experienced Wills and probate lawyers will provide you with the expert advice and guidance you need.

We can work alongside you to draft a comprehensive Will that takes into account all of your Cayman Islands assets.

Probate, Executorship and Inheritance

When probate or letters of administration have been granted, the personal representatives of an estate then have the authority to deal with the deceased’s Cayman Islands assets.

At this stage, our Wills and probate experts can support you with carrying out probate and advising the executor, dealing with all of the relevant steps and providing clear, practical advice to ensure the process is handled swiftly and efficiently.

Advanced healthcare directives or “living wills”

The Health Care Decisions Act, 2019 (the HD Act) ensures persons living in the Cayman Islands have greater autonomy over their healthcare in the event of their incapacity. The HD Act specifies a procedure by which a mentally competent individual can issue an “Advance Health Care Directive” in order to express his or her wishes in regards to the forms of medical treatment they would (or would not) like to be administered in the event the individual becomes mentally incompetent.

Usually one or more persons are appointed as proxies to make medical decisions for the individual in the event they become incapable. It is important to note that the HD Act does make provision for recognition of health care directives executed in jurisdictions other than the Cayman Islands. As such it is important to get expert legal advice in advance of executing such directives, especially when individuals plan to visit the Cayman Islands for significant periods of time.

Cayman Islands wills & probate FAQs

  • What are the benefits of making a Cayman Islands Will?

    There are a number of benefits to making a Cayman Islands Will, including but not limited to:

    • A Will allows for direct management and distribution of assets
    • A Will aids in a smoother administration of an estate
    • A Cayman Islands Will allows for easier administration of Cayman Islands assets both for residents and non-residents
    • Wills provide certain tax reliefs and benefits depending on your home domicile
    • Wills allow for chosen executors to be entrusted with distribution of your assets
    • A Will ensures the safe transfer of legacy and wealth to the next generation
  • What rules and restrictions apply to the governing law of a Will?

    It is important to note that the validity of a decedent’s Will is determined by the relevant law of their domicile. This means that the domicile is determined according to Cayman Islands law.

  • What is the formal process required to make a Will?

    Anyone can make a Will at any time. However, for it to be considered valid (and therefore be executed when the time comes), certain requirements must be met. These include:

    • The Will must be unambiguous
    • The Will must clearly set out the deceased’s wishes
    • The Will must be correctly executed and witnessed
    • There was no foul play during the creation of the Will (no pressure or control)

    The precise legal requirements for Wills vary internationally depending on your jurisdiction, which is why it is necessary to seek legal advice when drafting your Will.

  • Is there Inheritance Tax in the Cayman Islands?

    There is no inheritance tax in the Cayman Islands. Cayman Islands law allows for complete freedom of disposition, meaning a person can dispose of their assets as they please upon their death. However, it is important to note that this is subject to the law of their domicile. It is therefore advisable to take legal advice in your home jurisdiction regarding tax liability for disposal of your Cayman Islands assets by Will.

  • What happens to my assets if I do not make a will?

    If a person dies without making a Will (known as “intestate”), this can make matters more complicated. If a Cayman-domiciled person dies intestate, a closely connected person, such as a surviving spouse or surviving adult child, may apply to the Grand Court for letters of administration. Once obtained, they will have the authority to distribute the deceased’s assets in accordance with the Succession Act.

    Taking on the responsibility of acting as a representative of an intestate estate can be overwhelming. In order to navigate this complicated process, it is paramount to have a local representative who is familiar with the Cayman Islands legal system. Our expert Wills and Probate lawyers have many years’ experience dealing with intestate cases and are familiar with the rules and regulations that can save your estate from significant expense and unnecessary stress placed on grieving loved ones.

  • What are my rights to making a Cayman Islands will as a foreign person?

    Cayman Islands legislation makes it relatively straightforward for foreign persons to make a Will with regard to their Cayman Islands assets and is attractive to foreign investors seeking to establish structures in the Cayman Islands. Cayman legislation needs to be followed when executing and witnessing a Will, as it is a requirement that any Will be executed in the presence of two witnesses who then also sign as witnesses in each other’s presence.

  • What are Letters of Wishes?

    Letters of Wishes are additional, non-binding requests that accompany Wills, providing simple instructions and guidance for those dealing with an estate. For instance, it may provide guidance on how you would like them to exercise their powers as executors. They are not essential and do not need to be formally witnessed.

  • What is Probate and do I need it for executing a Cayman Islands Will?

    Essentially, Probate is the legal right to deal with someone’s estate and assets when they die. To carry out the terms of a loved one’s Cayman Islands Will, it is a requirement to apply for a Grant of Probate. You can only do so if you are named as an executor in the Will. 

  • Who has the right to be executor of my Will?

    If you name anyone in a Cayman Islands Will as your executor, that person will have the right to act as executor after they have received a Grant of Probate. Many people choose a spouse, civil partner or children to be their executor. There are no rules that prevent an individual who is named as a beneficiary of the Will also being an executor.

  • Is a Trust a good alternative to a Will?

    The ultimate answer to this question will depend on your circumstances. A Trust is a fiduciary arrangement where a grantor provides a trustee the right to hold and manage assets for a specific purpose or person.

Discuss your requirements with our Wills & Probate lawyers in the Cayman Islands

Contact our experienced team to learn more about our Wills & Probate legal services. To discuss more, get in touch with us today.