Estate Planning in Panama

Estate Planning in Panama

Every day, hundreds of US, European and Canadian citizens are arriving in Panama in search of a retreat in the mountains or a beach-side home. Since the majority of them are retired and do not often ask for information about how to transfer their assets to their inheritors in an efficient and speedy way. It is extremely secure to buy property in Panama since it is simple to create your estate plan under your Panamanian law. Numerous legal entities that deal with estate planning in North America and Europe are accessible in Panama.

If you are a foreigner and you have a property in Panama and die the assets to your beneficiaries, they may face costly legal costs and lengthy legal proceedings if you do not follow a few basic guidelines to avoid or ease probate. If you are planning your estate, you could be faced with a variety of possibilities, such as lack of a will the will special tenancy, private interests trusts, foundations.

The absence of an intention

If you don’t have will, dying intestate, without creating any transfer method- means that the property will be divided according to the laws of the jurisdiction in question. According to Panamanian law when there is no will, and there is no surviving spouse or spouses, then the estate will be transferred to the children as well as those closest to the children, in the event that the child dies. If there is no descendant and parents inherit, they will be the beneficiaries. If there are no descendants and parents, the most closely related descendants will inherit. However, in the event of a surviving spouse the estate is passed on by the spouse who died along with the children and the most distant descendants of those children when a child dies. If there are no relatives who will inherit the entire estate? Yes, that’s right The government, that is the municipality that you resided in at your last Panamanian address specifically.

It’s not the ideal option to die without a will as your property will be divided in accordance with the law of civil procedure, not according to your wishes. Additionally, your executor, as well as the guardian of your children under the age of 18, will be chosen by a judge, based on the requirements of the law. If no inheritors show up in front of the judge the municipality in which your residence is located will take over the estate.

A Will

In some cases, it is recommended to have a will as a tool for estate planning, i.e. that is. in the event that you don’t have time to participate in an extensive plan or if you are likely that you’ll pass away in the near future. If you do not have assets, but you would like to choose a guardian for your kids or give organs to a deceased donor or organs, a will can be an effective instrument. In some instances it is possible to use a will if you have a comprehensive estate plan like trusts or foundations for private interests, then you may require a will as the backup will, in order to get rid of newly purchased property.

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In certain states, Spain and Colombia to mention a few the option to dispose of property through the will are limited as a part of the estate need to be handed over to close relatives, a second part must be passed on to any person, and the last portion is able to be distributed without restrictions. According to Panama Civil Laws, there is the absolute liberty to dispose of your property after death; you may leave the entire estate to the next-door neighbor and not include the money that is due to alimony payments to parents, children, or spouses. In contrast, wills can be revocable. A new will is able to be made with the intention of leaving the old one in place with no legal consequences.

There are various types of wills that are regulated in the Panamanian civil code. The most popular are handwritten or holographic wills: must have been written and dated, and executed in writing by the person who is making the will. It may be in sealed envelopes or not, and isn’t usually witnessed. Written in open will before the eyes of a Public Notary and three witnesses The document is stored in the Public Notary archives, a copy is passed to the person who made the will. Anyone can gain access to the will. Closed will be Written by the person who made the will, and placed in an envelope which must be sealed thoroughly and signed by the Notary Public, and returned to the person who signed it. Its contents will only be read by the person who created the will. If the person dies he will be approved before the judges in charge of the probate process. Nuncupative wills, also referred to as an oral will valid when someone is in danger of death declare their last wishes before five witnesses, and then dies within 2 months of making the declaration.

A will that is written in the language of another country must be signed by two authorized translators, selected by the person selling assets in order to translate the document into Spanish. If a will is not translated, the formality is invalid. There are various formalities required by law in order to safeguard your will from the deceased person. died; an educated Public Notary can offer assistance in making sure that your will is in compliance with the legal requirements and stay clear of any challenges to whether the legitimacy of your will is valid.

As a non-native in a foreign country, able to dispose of your Panamanian assets by means of an overseas will for example in your country of residence? In general, it is possible to write a will abroad. can be used in Panama. However, any agreements that exist between Panama with the other country in which the person was born should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine the legal implications.

While there aren’t any estate taxes in Panama but the major drawbacks to a will rest in the issues of time and cash. If you utilize the will to plan your taxes using an instrument, your heirs must hire an attorney, pay legal fees, pay appraisal costs, and, aside from that they must submit the will of the deceased with a local court after the will has been proven and the estate is appraised, the estate will be distributed. in other terms, the beneficiaries will need to wait for a court decision on probate and to pay legal costs.

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Trusts, Joint Tenancy, Private Interest Foundations.

Do you know of an instrument in law that permits you to stay out of probate? There are many. Private interest foundations are to stay clear of legal jargon, an entity that is legal, comparable as a limited liability business but it’s not able to engage in commercial transactions, however, as a trust, it can be able to hold the assets, manage and pass on over to future generations estates of families and individuals. This means that you can give your assets locally into a Private Interest Foundation, appoint an administrative council that will manage the assets in accordance with the instructions you provide, and, upon your death, the assets pass to the person you’ve named to inherit, without probate. The founder can be an active member of the Administration Council, with such power that allows him/her full oversight of overall assets. Private Interest Foundations may be canceled or altered by the founder in the principle, subject to the terms of the constitution. A protector may be appointed by a founder with or without the power to override any decisions made by the Council. After the death of the founder the estate is distributed by the Council following the directions of the founder without the requirement to make a probate application, pay legal fees, or engage in lengthy court procedures.

In both in the US as well as the UK as well, it is legal to use Panamanian law to establish the living trust, where all or a part or all of the assets you own are passed to trust that is, when you die and your beneficiaries are named, they are able to receive trust assets, without the need to appear in the courtroom, in a discreet, quick and cost-effective manner. Trusts for a living sometimes referred to as inter vivos can be irrevocable prior to your death. When you’re alive, you are the trustee of trust assets and are able to dispose of the trust assets in any way you believe to be suitable, with no limitations. As a settlor or a trustor, you can choose to be either yourself or a third-party trustee. If you choose the latter, it’s recommended to choose a well-known and trust company that is well-established and reputable.

In certain circumstances, the joint tenancy account could be valuable for avoiding probate, particularly in cases where there are connections to family members. Make sure the account is created in an account with the names that are “A” or “B”. This type of account permits any of the two people to withdraw any or all the money in the account. Therefore, there is a level of trust that needs to be carefully considered.

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Beneficiaries, Imposing Control Over Property, Medical, and Financial Decisions.

It doesn’t matter whether you utilize the will or private interest foundation or trust to manage your estate, you are able to be sure to name primary beneficiaries or Alternate Beneficiaries. These are the ones designated to receive a gift when the primary beneficiary cannot at any time be able to receive the gift. You may also designate individuals to be Life Estate Beneficiaries (usufructuary Mientras living) who will earn income from, or use of the property throughout their lifetime however, they never get rights to own the property. While the Final Beneficiaries are those who are named for the purpose of becoming legal owners when the Life Beneficiaries pass away. It is common practice to identify the children’s Life Estate Beneficiaries and grandchildren as Final Beneficiaries. Residuary Beneficiaries are the ones who are named to inherit assets that are not specifically left to anyone else.

No matter what device you employ you can restrict the use of the property. You may leave assets to a particular purpose like, to help in the educational pursuits of your children; in this case, you need to decide on what stage of education your child needs to attain. You can also create an annuity in lieu of the lump sum of the beneficiary. In some instances, it is advisable to prohibit beneficiaries from selling the estate for a specific amount of time, especially in cases where you believe that the person is financially responsible. There are many options for imposing control on the property you leave to your loved relatives.

If you are mentally incapacitated or you’re living because of an intervention by a life-sustaining device and are unable to make financial or medical decisions or make financial decisions, your will and instructions contained therein will not be applicable because your will is enforceable at the time you die and not prior to. What do you do to get around this issue? While there aren’t any rules or Supreme Court decisions on these complicated issues, it appears to me in these instances, there may be at a minimum two options to deal with the issue one of which is the power of attorney in which the individual appoints an individual they trust to make the crucial financial and healthcare decisions over the specified time. The second option is to give instructions and directions on financial and medical matters to be followed or carried out by bankers and doctors when you are disabled. A lack of directions to your bankers and doctors as well as the lack of a properly designated agent, who has the authority to manage financial and medical concerns can result in significant loss to your assets during times of mental impairment or complete incapacity.



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