Legal documents that require language translation are always challenging, but one that is often paired with heightened emotions is a last will and testament. When a person holding a foreign language passes away, it’s essential to translate the document accurately to ensure it is handled correctly by probate courts and all parties involved fully understand the actual directives of the will’s orders.
Individual states define procedures surrounding wills and probate procedures, so the first step for anyone with a foreign language will contact a qualified probate attorney within the state. If the deceased owns property in more than one state or country, there may likely be multiple probate proceedings required for review in each jurisdiction.
The states’ laws differ regarding translation requirements for wills but typically include a provision that a copy translated into English be submitted into probate. For example, Florida’s Statute 733.204 states that no will written in a foreign language shall be admitted to probate unless accompanied by a true and complete English translation. Next, it provides that no personal representative who complies in good faith with the English translation of the will as established by the court shall be liable for doing so.
California Probate Code 12520-12524 has a similar requirement, stating that English translation requirements for wills written in a foreign language may be admitted into probate if the copy is “attested or certified as a correct copy of the writing or entry by a public employee, or a deputy of a public employee, having the legal custody of the writing.”
Accuracy is key when translating a last will and testament.
Like any other document, the format and wording of a will and testament written in a foreign language are subject to localization or customary interpretation and understanding of words and phrases by a population living in a foreign country or territory. Because of the enormous implications accurate translations have on families involved in a will, the translated version must reflect the intended meaning and intention of the deceased.
Legal experts who deal with last will and testaments in the foreign country will have the expertise you need to make sure the foreign language version is wholly understood and then accurately translated into English. Translators with estate planning experience will navigate relevant probate laws and ensure the translation meets the specific client’s needs.
If you or your client is an executor or benefactor of a will written in a foreign language, contact the professionals at The Perfect Translation.
At The Perfect Translation, we believe the most accurate translations of legal documents are those provided by certified translators with expertise in the matter at hand. Don’t leave your important translation work to computerized bots or generalized linguists. Contact us today for a free quote and learn more about what makes The Perfect Translation the best place to get accurate legal translations.