International Estate Planning

Whether the situation involves a U.S. citizen living abroad, a U.S. citizen with a non-U.S. citizen spouse or a non-U.S. citizen residing in the United States, a unique set of challenges has to be overcome.

What about the property that is outside of the United States? Is this included in my estate plan here?

With regard to any assets located outside of the United States, be sure to tell us about this property when you come in to see us. Also, we strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney located in the country in which the property is located.

How do I create a Will that will be honored in both the United States and the country where my property is located?

Ideally, you should consult with an attorney in each country in which property is located. That attorney can help you understand the local tax consequences, as well as help you understand how property is distributed.

What if I am a US citizen but my spouse is not? How does this impact our estate plan and death taxes?

We help clients minimize U.S. transfer taxes when one or both of the spouses is a non-U.S. citizen. Different planning techniques are available for resident aliens and nonresident aliens, as well as for those who plan to remain in the United States for a short time and those who plan a more extended or permanent stay.

The unlimited marital deduction available to two U.S. citizen spouses is not available to a U.S. citizen for transfers to his or her spouse when the spouse is a non-U.S. citizen. For these couples, a “Qualified Domestic Trust” is often an integral part of their estate plan. The utilization of a “Qualified Domestic Trust” can defer and reduce transfer taxes upon the death of the U.S. citizen spouse, for example.

An annual exclusion gifting program to the non-U.S. citizen spouse may also be desirable in order to equalize both spouses’ estates and to reduce the U.S. citizen spouse’s taxable estate. In addition, life insurance trusts can be established that may remove the value of the policies and the death proceeds from both spouses’ estates.