The right of a nonresident alien to take real or personal property through testamentary bequest or intestate succession is regulated in this country by the laws of the states in which the property is located or the estate is probated. Many of the individual states of the Union demand that a potential foreign beneficiary establish, as a condition precedent to receipt of his inheritance share, compliance with an established statutory scheme. Often these regulatory measures require the existence of circumstances over which the alien, as an individual, has no, or at best minimal, control. The nonresident alien's ability to take and enjoy his inheritance is frequently contingent upon satisfactory proof of the conformity of his nation's legal system or, more difficultly, its political ideology and economic structure, to the statutory requirements. As written and applied by the courts the disparate requirements of these statutes impose critical obstacles to inheritance by nonresident aliens. Further, they serve to thwart the evident testamentary design of a decedent, and occasion severe problems in estate administration. An exposition and analysis of these various statutes will be attempted in this comment.

Document Type


Publication Date