Whether you own property overseas or you are a non-citizen who owns property in the United States, there are special rules that make planning even more important. If you or your spouse are not United States citizens, you need to consider special consequences:
- Federal estate tax and gift tax laws impose certain onerous restrictions on non-citizens (even if the non-citizen spouse has a “green card”).
- Outright gifts during your lifetime to a non-U.S. citizen spouse – including joint ownership of real estate, stock, and bank accounts – can trigger gift tax problems immediately.
- Likewise, gifts at death may not qualify for the “unlimited marital deduction” unless you have included a Qualified Domestic Trust. Your unsuspecting widow or widower may be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes shortly after your death.
The situation is far worse if you or your spouse is considered a non-resident alien. Even if your assets are modest, the results can still be devastating. That’s because if you or your spouse are a non-U.S. citizen/resident, the annual exemption amounts can be much lower before a 40% tax is imposed on all your worldwide assets. Your status as either a U.S. resident or a non-resident will greatly affect the estate planning mechanisms available to you.
Read our 3-part series here entitled Estate Planning for the Non-Citizen.
Expertise in Asset Protection
Bridge Law LLP has helped numerous individuals plan for their overseas assets in order to be in compliance with U.S. tax rules. We also specialize in working with non-citizens in order to plan ways to ensure that their personal and business wealth is protected in the most tax-efficient manner possible. Not only do we tailor each and every document to carefully fit your specific needs for the future, we take careful consideration to keep your plans updated as the laws and your life needs change.
Some of the many vehicles we use and the topics we address are:
- FBAR and FATCA Compliance
- Offshore Trust Accounts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Domestic and Foreign Business Interests (operating/passive interests in Corporations, LLCs, and Partnerships)
- Purchasing/owning residential or commercial real estate
- Selling or gifting property to U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizen residents
Seek Out Estate Planning Professionals
Estate planning can become a very complicated process containing overlapping and even opposing legal concerns. Many of our clients are non-U.S. citizens and we have come up with strategies to help them save thousands of dollars in taxes. And even if you live locally and hold property overseas or if you are overseas and hold property in the U.S., we can help plan ways to minimize your exposure.
If you want a responsive, straight-forward approach to estate planning from an experienced estate planning professional, contact our offices today.