Estate Planning Tips for U.S. Expats

By Neel Shah, Trusts|Estates|Law posted 05-22-2015 09:37


Even though it might seem overwhelming and confusing, there are six key steps you can take to have a solid estate plan in place before you exit the U.S. Here’s what to do when you’re planning to leave. 

Review Your Estate Plan in Full

You’ll become subject to local laws about estates when you establish residency somewhere new, but you’ll still fall under the guidance of U.S. tax laws.

Understand Residence and Domicile Rules

Just because a document works in one country doesn’t guarantee the same in your new country. Make sure you get insight from your estate planning attorney when it comes to trusts.

Be Aware of Double Taxes

Estate taxes could be claimed by multiple countries if you have connections to more than one nation. You need to get specialized tax attorney help in this regard to determine if there’s another option.

Think Twice About Foreign Life Insurance

It can be difficult, if not impossible, to get life insurance from a U.S.-based company while you’re living in another country. Your foreign policy also might not comply with U.S. rules, so read all of the fine print.

Determine Where “Common Law” Versus “Forced Heirship” Applies

In the U.S. and the U.K., you’ve got common law principles to help you determine where your estate assets will go, but other countries might require you to distribute them in a different way. Get professional advice to determine what situation applies to you. Get help planning ahead at [email protected].