A Panama living will and testament is an important document that every person should have in order to protect themselves and their loved ones while residing in Panama. If something happens while you’re living abroad, it’s crucial that you have a will in place that is recognized by the local authorities. This guide will walk you through the process of creating a living will and testament in Panama so that you can be assured that your wishes will be carried out in the event of your death. The risks of not having one are too great, and you’ll want to make sure that all of your affairs are in order to give maximum benefits to those you love the most.
What is a Living Will and Testament?
A living will and testament is a written document that sets forth your wishes regarding the medical treatment you would or would not want to receive if you were to become incapacitated and unable to communicate your decisions yourself. It is also sometimes called an advance directive. It also has many financial implications too, in the case that you pass away or become unable to properly make your own financial decisions due to extreme health issues. For example, you may state in your will who you would like to be the executor of your estate and how you would like your assets to be distributed.
Having a living will and testament is like an insurance policy. You may never need it, but it is there in case something happens to you. It gives peace of mind to you and your loved ones knowing that your wishes will be followed if something happens to you. This could be in the form of transferring assets, designating someone to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated, or even more simply, just expressing your wishes for funeral arrangements. Whatever the case, not having one could lead to major headaches that in Panama, could be even greater for your family as you are a foreigner.
Who Needs a Living Will and Testament?
Panama living wills are most commonly used by people with high value estates, those with children, and elderly people or those with serious health conditions. However, anyone who wants to have more control over their future affairs can set one up, and with the right legal help, they can do this without stress or too many hoops to go through. People who have a Panama living will and testament typically have a few main reasons for doing so:
- To appoint someone they trust to make decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so themselves.
- To state their wishes regarding medical treatment, in the event that they are incapacitated and unable to communicate those wishes themselves.
- To express their funeral arrangements or final resting place.
- And finally, to control how their assets will be distributed after death.
Why You Should Create a Living Will and Testament in Panama as a Foreigner
There are many reasons why you should set up a Panama living will as a foreigner, even if you don’t think you need one right now. The first reason is that it gives you peace of mind. If something happens to you, your family will know that your wishes will be carried out without any confusion. The second reason is that it protects your loved ones. If you don’t have one in place and something happens to you, your family may have to go through a lengthy and expensive legal process to try to sort out your affairs. This could include going to court and hiring a lawyer, which can be very costly. The third reason is that it shows that you are prepared for anything.
Having a good, thorough will in Panama shows that you are organized and have thought about what would happen if something happened to you. This can give your family some comfort knowing that they don’t need to worry. Expats in Panama come for a variety of reasons, and for a variety of different lengths of time. With so many moving pieces going on, it can be easy to overlook something like a will. In fact, many people may think that as foreigners it’s only possible to have one in their country of origin, and not overseas. This is simply not the case.
The Process of Creating a Panama Living Will and Testament
Now that we’ve gone over some of the reasons why you should have a Panama living will and testament, let’s go over the process of how to create one. The first step is to contact our expert team of lawyers who specializes in this area of law in Panama. You can ask us for a consultation before you make your decision, and we will walk you through your options in person, on the phone, or online. Once you settled on what you’re going to do, we will help you get everything started.
There are three main types of wills in Panama:
- A Holographic Will: This type of will is handwritten, signed, and dated by the testator (the person making the will). It does not need to be witnessed.
- A Notarial Open Will: This type of will is made in front of a Panama notary public, who will then sign and stamp the will. It must be signed by two witnesses in order for it to be valid.
- A Notarial Closed Will: A Panama closed will is one that is sealed by the Panama notary public and cannot be opened until after the death of the testator.
The requirements to get started, once we have agreed on the type of will, are as follows:
- The testator must be of legal age (18 years old). If the testator is not of legal age, a Panama court may appoint a guardian to oversee the will.
- The testator must be of sound mind and able to understand the consequences of their actions.
- A full list of assets that will be included in the will must be provided. The Panama living will and testament must be written in Spanish, with options for translation to English when needed.
- An asset appraisal.
For more information about how to get started on your Panama last will and testament, contact us now, and let’s get started together.