Where There’s a Will There’s a Way at Lake Chapala Mexico

June 11, 2010

Note: The following is from an article on www.ajijiclaw.com “One thing we all must consider at some time is a will. This is a topic that some people do not like to face as it makes them think about their own mortality. Unfortunately if we want to take care of our loved ones, or your favorite charity, you must face this issue at sometime. A major concern with people here in Mexico is the cost of a will. We have some recommendations to help save on the cost, which we will mention later. A Mexican will can cost up to $2500 pesos per person, possibly more if you require a translator, it all depends on your circumstances. If you find a price substantially lower than this, make sure you are dealing with a licensed Notary, or a reputable lawyer. There 2 common types of wills, one is a legacy, and then just a regular will to cover everything in your estate worldwide. A legacy only covers your assets here in the Republic of Mexico. As many people have wills in the U.S. or Canada, they will only require a legacy. In the event of death, and it is discovered that you have more than one will, your estate will be open to all sorts of problems. This may include people not mentioned in your wills being able to make claims during probate, which just makes the issue difficult for your inheritors. Please make sure that these issues are clear when preparing for your will. A Notario Publico must draw up all wills. By law, the will must be drawn up in Spanish, which is the reason you may require a translator if you’re Spanish is weak. Unfortunately, you cannot bring a friend along to translate, as State law requires the translator to be someone recognized by the federal and or State authorities. We mentioned a way to save on this cost earlier. This can be accomplished simply. If you own property in Mexico, you will have a deed. On the deed, also prepared by a Notary, you will have beneficiaries listed in the event of your death. Those beneficiaries (which can only be parents, wife, or children on a deed) will receive your property as stated in the event of your death. If the only other asset you have in Mexico is a bank account, you can have those same beneficiaries, or anyone else, be co-owners of your account, or accounts. This gives them full signing authority if you die. The co-owners of the account are recommended for two reasons. The first being that it is just simpler and quicker than probate, which leads to the second reason. Your executor or beneficiary will have access to funds that may be needed right away for your burial, transfer of deeds, and or expenses to get here. Otherwise, probate for a bank account can take several months, possibly a year. This is also recommended even if you are making a will. Please note; if at one time your deed was a Trust deed from a bank, and you’ve transferred it to a direct deed, you will NOT be able to list beneficiaries (article 1893 of the civil code), in which case you would require a will. The recommendations mentioned above are for simple estates only, if you own several properties, multiple cars, etc, it is recommended to simply have a will drawn up. It will save your executor and beneficiaries time and money in the long run. Most lawyers have a good relationship with a notary, or possibly several. This can facilitate the transaction for you by having all the documents prepared for you when you arrive at the notary. This will save you time and possible confusion if your Spanish is weak, leading to hardships later on. Remember, not very many notaries are proficient in English, and by law are not allowed to translate the will for you in any case.” Please contact, Adriana Perez ,  A local lawyer, friend and just a nice lady for questions you may have after reading this article. Ajijic Legal and Immigration Services Carretera Oriente 58-D Ajijic, Jalisco C.P. 45920 Mexico All Confidential E-Mail Inquiries: info@ajijiclaw.com

  • Beth Leitch

    I also would comment that, if you name children as beneficiaries in the deed to jointly-owned real estate (husband and wife), the children must be the biological offspring of BOTH the husband and wife. They cannot be biological children of only one of the spouses. In that case, you will also need a will to guarantee transfer of ownership to children/step-children.

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    HI Beth, Yes, Good Points. Thanks for your addition. Sid

  • http://Yahoo Laurel Williams

    So how was the seminar on “Crime Prevention on Seniors at Lake Chapala? Were there any conclusions made? It seems to me the lake citzens could form groups similer to “Neighborhood Watch”, like in NOB.

    If enought action was taken, perhaps it would become known that gringo seniors are NOT easy marks for thieves. Whatever happened to ‘Gray Power”? Didn’t some of it also migrate south? Surly you must have some old hippies down there who will have ‘sitins’, around the plaza and demonstrate for safer and better conditions! The Boomers were the group who wanted so much to change the world. Time to get out the signs and headbands!!

    This is an important issue to me. My well meaning relatives are trying so hard to keep me out of Mexico because of the crime waves.

    What do you think,Sid and Sid’s readers??

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Laurel, Thanks for you comments.

    I missed the seminar on “Crime Prevention”

    By almost any standard you want to apply the Lake Chapala area of Mexico is a generally very safe area. Does some crime exist here? Of course it does. I see more police patrols here in my neighborhood than I did in my neighborhood in a suburb of Dallas when I lived there.

    We have neighborhood watches in some neighborhoods here just like in North America. Confrontational crime is rare here unlike in North America. The family unit is much stronger here. There are fewer divorces. Parental control is stricter.

    The news media in both countries sensationalize the crime that happens in both countries. The USA is a far more violent culture than the Mexican culture. The vast majority of the violent crime in Mexico revolves around the drug trade and is mostly focused in a few border area.

    Lake Chapala of course is a two day drive from the border areas so all of that is far away from us.

    Most of our family and friends are well meaning and just concerned for our safety. Once they come here to visit us and see our peaceful small town lifestyle with low crime (comparatively) with almost no violent crime they change their tune,

    A word about demonstrations here. The quickest way to get deported is to become involved in protests of any kind here as a non citizen.

    The North American community does communicate very well with all levels of the Mexican government here. They listen to us, they respond and want us to be happy here. Our economic impact on the community is fairly substantial. IN addition they know we’re good neighbors, love Mexican, and do a lot of charitable work.

    So, even without the vote and without protests our voice is heard at least as much as the local Mexican people. SO Gray Power is more subtle here because it must be.

    Thanks again for your comments. Sid

  • Laurel Williams

    Thanks Sid for the encouraging words. It what I truly feel about Mexico. OK, No Gray Power protests. I’ll leave my picket signs in Gringo Land. :) I never was a hippy.


  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Lori, Thanks for your very postive comments. Sid

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Laurel, Thanks for your input. I admire you willingness to get involved and make a difference. Folks like you are the ones who make stuff happen. Glad you understand we need to work here for change a little differently than North of the Border. Thanks again. Please keep contributing. Sid

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