How to Issue a Will in Panama
( July 2010 - This was the information as of January 2009, all information should be verified by a lawyer.) Any person, local or foreign, can own property or any type of commodity in Panama. So these assets must abide by Panamanian Law, so only Panamanian authorities can rule over them. Therefore, an Inheritance Process must be started in Panama so that these Panamanian Assets may be allocated to your beneficiaries, wherever they may be. The Panamanian Will can be given before a Notary Public. If you don’t speak Spanish, an interpreter will be given to you at your cost.
The will be drafted in several copies, one is given to you for safe keeping and the other will remain at the Notary.
If something happens to you at one point or another, the Inheritance Process must be petitioned before a Civil Court Judge by way of an attorney. The Judge will ask all Notaries if you have issued a Will before them. The Notary that holds your Will, will send it to the Judge and then a Tested Inheritance Process will begin, with all assets identified as well as all the beneficiaries.
You really don’t want to let your loved ones with an Untested Inheritance Process in Panama. This will take a lot longer, especially if your beneficiaries are abroad and may not be contacted, summoned or identified properly. This could be used against any other beneficiaries and some others might profit unjustly of it at the absence of the rest.
You see, at one point in the Process, the Judge will order all those who might have a claim to your Estate to come forward and present themselves. Well, you can see where this can go if those beneficiaries are not duly identified by you in your Will.
There are two other ways that you may allocate your assets in Panama, but we will cover those in separate installments:
a- A foreign will.
b- A Private Interest Foundation.
Until then, be safe and be careful.
The nice people at LEGALCORP