Arizona Recognizes Wills from Canada

   Question: My wife and I are Canadian citizens. Several years ago, we executed joint wills in Canada. Last month we purchased a home in Carefree and plan on living there during the winter months. Do the joint wills we executed in Canada apply to our Carefree home, or do we need Arizona wills?

   Answer: Arizona recognizes a will that was validly executed in another state, or another country such as Canada, even if the will does not meet Arizona requirements. For example, although Arizona requires two witnesses to a will, Arizona does recognize a will executed in a state that requires only one witness to a will. Therefore, there should be no necessity to execute another will. Most wills and other estate-planning documents, however, should be reviewed every three to five years to determine if amendments are necessary based on any change in financial circumstances.

   However, you should also review the deed to your Carefree home. Most spouses in Arizona own their homes as community property with right of survivorship. If the deed shows that you own your Carefree home as community property with right of survivorship, your Canadian wills may not even apply as the surviving spouse under Arizona law would automatically own your Carefree home upon the death of the first spouse.

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