Many of our clients desire to serve process abroad, for example to Europe, as part of an international legal dispute. The Hague Convention and service of process abroad are intertwined. Thus, to serve process abroad, our office follows the rules set forth in the Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention).
You can serve an individual or a company in a country that is a signatory to the Hague Service Convention, like France, in one of three ways.
1. The first way to send service of process under the Hague Convention
Under this option, you send the service from the U.S. to the Convention to France for service on a party in France. Under the law of France, the document must be sent to the French Central Authority, preferably in English with a translated copy in French. The Convention also requires an identifiable address of the person to be served, that the document is either a judicial or extrajudicial document, and that the document being served related to a civil or commercial matter (not a criminal matter in other words).
2. The second way to send process under the Hague Convention
The second way to send process under the Hague Convention is to send the document from the U.S. via a consular or diplomatic channel or to a “judicial officer, official or other competent person in the State of destination.” In France, for example, this would mean sending the document to a “hussier” (an official process server licensed by the French government. The Hussier must have his signature notarized by a U.S. consular officer, and there are fees set by the French government for both using the hussier and for the cost of having his signature notarized.
3. The third way to send process under the Hague Convention
The third and last alternative to serving process under the Hague Convention is to do a document directly to “an interested party and judicial officers, officials or other competent persons of the State of destination.”
If you would like to serve a party overseas or if you have any questions about an international legal disputes, contact our civil litigation attorneys today!
Everyone who owns property inside and outside the United States needs to invest in estate planning. It can be a straightforward, but there are some unique international estate planning concerns that arise when dealing with multiple wills.
One of your biggest concerns should be your will. If you have a will in another country and you own assets in Florida, like real estate or a boat, it is very important that you make sure your will is valid in Florida.
Your will could be valid in the country of your residence and invalid in Florida.
This discrepancy could be the deciding factor in whether the estate is administered directly or indirectly in Florida. The significance of administering and estate directly is that ancillary probate is no longer an option. When this happens, the people named as beneficiaries under the will can be ignored completely. Long lost family members you don’t even know could become the legal beneficiaries and inherit your entire estate.
If a Florida probate court finds that you are domiciled in Florida, then it may attempt to administer your estate directly. The Florida probate court determines the “domicile” of the deceased based on facts and circumstances (which can unfortunately be manipulated by any unsuspected, money-hungry third party).