Photo: Google


September has long been the traditional month for a 50 percent discount on the cost of obtaining a Mexican will.

It is important for foreigners to understand that it may be difficult for your loved ones to deal with your estate if you do not have a will in Spanish in Mexico.

Bank accounts, retirement funds and other deposits where there is a named beneficiary are taken care of, but any real estate will be tricky.

In the case where there is no Mexican will, the property may not always be automatically left to the surviving spouse. Mexico does not have survivor rights, meaning the surviving spouse does not automatically inherit the property, even if the couple owned it 50/50.

Without a will, the government may decide the ownership of the deceased’s share of the property. If the couple has children, the court may divide the deceased spouse’s share equally among the surviving spouse and the children, making it impossible for a surviving spouse to sell without all children’s permission.

What about a Canadian or U.S. will? Is it valid in Mexico if it includes Mexican real estate and valuables?

Although a foreign will is valid in Mexico, the time and expense it takes to have it verified and processed will cause a family undue headache and expense. The problem is getting these documents certified to be legally recognized in Mexico.

American documents need to be apostilled by the Secretary of the State where the document was issued and then notarized in the United States, subsequently translated into Spanish by a court-approved translator in Mexico.

Canadian wills do not need to be apostilled, but will need to be translated by a court-approved translator and submitted to a Mexican Consulate in Canada and then presented to a notary in Mexico.

The best route is for anyone with real estate, a business or significant valuables in Mexico, is to obtain a generic will. For most cases, it is as simple as naming the one person who will inherit everything.

For most married couples where there is joint ownership, the will should read specifically that the surviving spouse inherits the other 50 percent of the property. In the event that the second parent also passes away, the children will then become the beneficiaries.

Standard to include, is a “no-contest” clause, letting it be clear that your wishes shall not be altered. A no-contest clause will discourage someone only if that person has something to lose by challenging the will in court.

For example, say you have two grown children, one of whom cannot handle money responsibly. If you leave him $10,000, he might think twice about challenging your will, because if he sues and loses, the no-contest clause means he would not get the $10,000 originally provided.

In Mexico, the cost of a will varies by state, but in CDMX, it is approximately 2,000 pesos if there is only a single heir. Call a notary today for an appointment.



Leave a Reply