How do I prepare my estate planing if I have investments or own properties or businesses in Costa Rica?

by Quatro Legal Corporate Team | Jan. 8, 2024 | Article, Corporate

We are firm believers that all of our expat clients must have a estate planning structure even if it is as simple as a Will. Many of the cases in which the assets of foreign investors have been lost, entangled or frozen when they have passed are due to a lack of estate planning. The rule is simple: if you own assets in Costa Rica, you need to prepare a structure that guarantees that your estate is protected and will be distributed according to your wishes when you pass.

Estate planning is one of the most important decisions a foreign investor can make. Many people come to do business in the country or to purchase assets, corporations and businesses, and assume that their estate plan in their home country will cover their assets in Costa Rica. This is not the case, or not the most practical and cost effective manner to deal with such an important issue. Having an estate plan abroad does not make it enforceable in Costa Rica and, when it is enforceable, it will need to comply with other formalities, requirements and proceedings that could take years in local courts. It is best to have a separate parallel structure to manage or distribute any patrimony owned in Costa Rica. If you are planning to invest, ask your attorney to prepare an estate plan alongside your business structure. As policy it is always good to do it from the very start and most of the time it will take only a few minutes of your beach time.

Costa Rican law covers different estate planning options, such as wills, corporate holdings with boards or appointing an officer to enforce corporate asset distribution, trust structures, etc. Regardless of the legal structure you choose, what matters is that you are prepared so that decisions can be made over your patrimony when you are gone.

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