Estate planning goes far beyond establishing a plan for the materials that you have owned in the United States. If you have foreign assets these must be included in your estate planning and this branches out into the broader concept of asset protection planning.

As air travel, innovation, and technology are increasingly bringing people closer together, most people tend to describe themselves as world citizens. Part of this has even expanded into ownership of assets in foreign countries. However, this can expose you to risks and unexpected obstacles if you are not careful.

One of the most important considerations you can make is how to structure ownership of your individual assets to maximize your tax and estate planning. This depends on your individual citizenship as well as the laws of the country in which the assets is located. If you have not thought about whether or not you will pay estate taxes on certain items, and who will receive the asset when you die, you need to.

There are several important things you need to know in the process of foreign asset estate planning. These include:

  • Consult with advisor before purchasing property abroad so that you can consider all options for structured ownership.
  • Ensure that you have an experienced team of advisors in place before making any purchases.
  • Get local counsel in the area in which you intend to own the foreign asset.
  • Disclose all assets to your attorney to avoid the possibility of problems and ensure that you have had advanced estate planning considerations.
  • You might need two wills; one for disposing of your U.S. assets and your foreign property.

It can be shocking for people to realize that U.S. citizens are taxed on worldwide assets for the purposes of estate taxes. Make sure that you consult with your individual attorney to identify how to avoid problems yourself.

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