September is Will Month and in Mexico there is a program called the September Will Month in which they make an effort to encourage people to have a will.
In Mexico if you do not have a will for your heirs to acquire the rights to your property it makes things very difficult. To encourage everyone to be protected the government created this program in which they dramatically reduce the price of the will. The cost is usually between $50-150 US. This applies to all of Mexico. Normally they extend this to October, but September is the official month for this program. You need to think if you would like to have a will in Mexico, provided that you already own a property in this country.
In order to get a better understanding of how this works I spoke to Gerardo González, who is an attorney and senior partner at Mexlaw, a Playa del Carmen based law firm. Gerardo is a graduate from the Universidad Interamericana para el Desarrollo (Interamerican University for Development) in Merida and has experience in corporate law, labor law and notaries.
If I have a will made up in Canada or the US does that protect me as well?
You could probate the will that you already have in the US or Canada, we have several agreements with these countries that allow Mexican authorities to recognize the legal figures of those 2 countries.
If you probate your will in Canada or the US you could send the proved document to the Mexican court, they will get the instructions for the next steps to be taken. Also you can create a Mexican will for a specific property to use specifically for inheritance to your heirs. Normally foreigners buy through a bank trust or a Mexican corporation. In the bank trust there is a part in the deed that you appoint heirs.
Basically you tell the bank in case you die who should receive the rights to the property. If something happens to you there’s a process to follow for your beneficiaries to acquire those rights with this property. I always recommend to have the same person as a beneficiary on the deed of your bank trust and your will.
Sometimes a person has a will, comes to Mexico via land and appoints someone else. To avoid any legal disputes, you should have the same beneficiary as your beneficiary back home in Canada or the US.
What happens if there are different names on the will and the bank trust?
This would be a litigation dispute, you need to take those documents and compare them to see who is going to have the rights. To avoid that, I recommend using the same names in order to avoid litigation. If they have a property here in Mexico and not back home in the US or Canada since they sold everything, it would be better to have a Mexican will to avoid going to the courts of both countries.
Plan ahead if you want to take advantage of September Will Month.