A Will in Belize

It is always good to check the consequences of dying after a move to another country. First of all it is not necessary to die at all, but as it is a part of life, it is good to see what happens after your death with your properties. For Belize this means you probably would like to make a will to do the estate planning.

The validity of a will in Belize is determined by the conditions in the Wills Act, Chapter 203, of the Laws of Belize. The most important conditions are: 
  • The will needs to be dated;
  • The will must be in writing;
  • The will must at the end or the foot be signed by the testator;
  • The signing by the testator should be witnessed by two independent witnesses (no beneficiaries), who also sign the will at the same time.
Especially the last condition could be a challenge, while in some countries in Europe it is common to sign a will with only one independent witness present. This means that the wills of these countries are probably not accurate for Belize and should be changed to be accurate. Belize will recognize wills which are made in other countries if they fulfill the conditions without a need for the will to be authenticated in Belize. 
Another interesting fact is that a will in Belize will be revoked in the following ways: by the execution of a later will, by divorce, by an informal declaration, by subsequent marriage and by destruction. In most cases you probably would like to change your will in case of a marriage or divorce, but it is not always necessary or common to do so.  
Next to the beneficiaries of the assets of a deceased could a will in Belize also contain the appointment of a guardian for minors.

The execution of a will in Belize

After someone died and Belizean assets are left by the deceased, an executor or an administrator is appointed to pay the debts of the deceased, to pay the funeral expenses and to distribute the deceased's assets. Also other legal necessary actions could be done by the executor or administrator. An executor could be appointed in three ways: in a will, by delegation under a power of appointment in the will of by the Supreme Court of Belize. Most of the time the executor will need up to 12 months to execute the legacy. If there is no valid will in Belize, according to the Administration of Estates Act, Chapter 197 of the laws of Belize an administrator will be appointed. A local agent will be needed to be appointed by virtue of a power of attorney if the executor or administrator is not a resident of Belize. 

The use of a foreign will for Belize

It is possible to use a foreign will for Belize for jurisdictions which are according to The Administration of Estates Act, Chapter 197 of the Laws of Belize recognized for resealing purposes. These jurisdictions include all parts of the British Commonwealth or a British Court of Probate in a foreign country. In this case the foreign jurisdiction will make a grant in accordance with the will, which is sealed by Belize as a valid and enforceable grant.