Creating an integrated cross-border plan with a qualified attorney is critical to anyone holding property in both the United States and other countries. The estate and gift tax laws, as well as inheritance laws, vary drastically from one country to another. Thus, non-resident aliens are often surprised to learn that their estate could incur unexpected results if they own property in the United States as well as their home country. U.S federal estate and gift taxes impose onerous restrictions on non- U.S citizens that are very different from the treatment of U.S citizens. Likewise, U.S. citizens with property held outside the U.S. may find that using common U.S. tools can cause unanticipated results under a foreign country’s tax laws. Mona Bentz, Esq. can assist you in creating an estate plan that will work for your benefit, no matter your citizenship status or the country in which you hold property.

International Estate Planning and Trusts

Trusts are the workhorses of U.S. estate planning. Most applicable marital, charitable and exclusion deduction planning happens through trusts. Common U.S estate planning includes such trusts as:

• Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs)
• Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs)
• Grantor retained annuity and uni-trusts (GRATs and GRUTs)
• Grantor retained income trusts (GRITs)
• Charitable remainder trusts (including CRATs, CRUTs, CLATs and CLUTs)
• Sales to grantor trusts

However, many other countries view the setup and administration of trusts quite differently. International estate planning can help you avoid some of these pitfalls. For instance, German law declares that transfers to trusts under a will violates public policy. Transfers to non-German trusts with non-German legal instruments will incur inheritance and gift taxes at the highest rates. Switzerland recognizes trusts; however, underlying grantors or beneficiaries are liable for income taxes. And in a number of jurisdictions, the transfer of property into irrevocable trust causes an unwanted immediate taxable event to the individual owner. Our office can help you setup and manage an international estate plan that is right for your family and will protect your assets for the next generation.

Probate fees and legal costs can escalate when international estate issues are not adequately addressed. Proper estate planning will ensure that your legacy is safeguarded for the next generation. Mona Bentz, Esq. can discuss plans to keep your assets protected for the next generation, no matter where they are held or your citizenship. Call 954-768-1614 to schedule a meeting with Ms. Bentz.

Contact Information

Baker Donelson
100 S.E. Third Avenue, Suite 1620
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394
mbentz@bakerdonelson.com
Office direct dial: 954-768-1614

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