You’ve worked hard your whole life to build up your money. What will happen to it all after you’re gone?
And if you are one of the many Americans who own property or have money in another country, what happens to that?
Whether you bought a second home overseas, or still own land after moving to the US, you’ll want to make sure the family assets are protected. International estate planning can help you maintain control over what happens with your property when you die. Here are three tips for estate planning when you have to consider your property in more than one country.
1. Understand US Tax Laws
United States’ tax laws are complicated when it comes to inheritance. When you add in income from another country, additional tax burdens may apply. The US also imposes taxes on monetary gifts and transfers.
The same applies in countries across the world. It’s important to understand what the tax burden will be when your heirs inherit your wealth. It’s important to speak to a professional and engage in estate planning so that your family is protected from heavy tax burdens.
2. Consider Offshore Investments
You’ve probably heard of offshore investments in negative terms before. While it is true that some people inappropriately use them, this can be an effective way to protect your wealth.
It’s especially helpful if you accumulate your money in a country other than the U.S.
Most individuals who go this route use offshore trusts. However, it’s important to talk to a tax professional as these may require reporting to the IRS.
You may also be able to hold your assets in tax havens. The country you own property in might even be one.
3. Speak With Attorneys in Both Countries
The best people to talk to in order to ensure international compliance with tax laws are attorneys in the US and the countries you have assets in. Lawyers can help you learn about inheritance laws so that you know exactly what you need to get in order.
You may need to write up a will in each country. Other countries may have a less formal process.
You may have additional challenges if you are a US citizen but your spouse is not. The same may hold true in any country where you, your spouse, or your heirs are not citizens. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal implications as well as any tax consequences you may need to consider.
Failure to comply with tax laws could result in your family losing out on their inheritance. Make sure you have professional help to ensure the protection of your assets.
Get Help With International Estate Planning
None of us know how long our lives will last. International estate planning ensures that your loved ones will inherit your assets when you are gone. Speak with a professional today to make sure your overseas assets stay with your family.
For more advice about protecting the financial future of your family, check out our Lifestyle section.