You know your Will is in urgent need of updating when:

  1. It’s typed on a real typewriter.
  2. The paperclips holding it together are rusty.
  3. Your youngest child isn’t even mentioned.

Expat Realities: endless paperwork. Defining Moves - information, inspiration and resources for the global expat family. trailing spouse, accompanying partner, transferee, international assignment, global mobilityIt’s tax season in the Defining Moves household, and for those of you who are moaning about having to do your taxes, you can stop right now: for the multitudes of expats, we have to do it twice. Once for your home nation, and once for your host… Fun, huh? And while we are lucky enough to have a tax company do the actual filing, this doesn’t excuse us from the form-filling, and even more importantly, the form finding.

Which brings me to the current year.

If you really want to see the Other Half go a funny color and make high pitched squeaking noises, ask him to do the tax filing for a year in which we:

Tax preparation was made all the more fun by the significant material improvements to property a) which could be offset against capital gains tax… if only we could find the receipts from 15 years and 5 moves ago.

We have learned our lesson and are squirreling away receipts from improvements carried out to property b), but any benefit here is outweighed (literally) by the property location; California, a state which prides itself on requiring more paperwork per contract than most rainforests can possibly provide. All of which have to be sifted through to find the relevant page required by the IRS.

It’s a lot of dust and drudgery, and I have managed to overheat my shredder on three separate occasions, but all in all, it has been a happy time – mainly because in amongst 17 years of car insurance policies, utility bills and dog training class handouts, I have also discovered envelopes of long forgotten photographs, handwritten poems, the Feisty One’s birth certificate (oddly with no mention of parentage, but that’s another story) and finally, our Will.

So this summer, I am on a mission – to get my paper house in order – and I’m bringing you all with me. Those of you who already have wills, trusts and plans in place – you can enjoy 10 weeks of smugness while the rest of us mere mortals trail forlornly behind..

The first hurdle – the all important Will – will be up next. In the meantime, I’ll leave you to enjoy one of the vital pieces of paperwork we have been storing so carefully for the last 12 years… Seriously??

Expat Life - random credit notes from previous locations..

 

3 Responses to Expat Realities. Where there’s a Will, there’s a… spanner set??

  1. Judy says:

    The one resolution I have kept this year (well, almost) is to swap my black metal filing cabinet for a virtual one. Physically unable to stuff another piece of paper in said filing cabinet and not having the will to sort through it all, it was my only solution (short of buying another filing cabinet). Every week I now gather up the paperwork which mysteriously appears each day on the kitchen counter top, scan it and then file it on my laptop, backed up to Google Drive. Yes, yes, I know every spy service from here to Timbuktu can now review the receipts for my appliance repairs, but they are welcome to do so. My plan is to let the black filing cabinet rust in peace for several more years and then bin everything in it.

  2. Trisha Carter says:

    Realised, like you, that our will was written prior to the birth of the good looking young man currently welded to the playstation….

    You may have to deal with some high levels of resistance – the paperwork journey is not one I am rushing to join you on!

  3. Jo Hughes says:

    Mmm…. You’ve got me thinking now Rach. I wonder when our will was last done? I think Alex is on it – but only just – but now that Evan and I have both changed jobs it might be worth looking at again! Maybe I’ll get him to do it this time …..

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