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International Estate Planning

Families with multinational citizenship or residency status face a wide range of potential tax and estate planning issues. Although the United States enjoys tax treaties with many nations which help limit the exposure, these treaties do not exist for every country, and there may still be a risk of double taxation on income or assets even with a treaty in place. Even when double taxation does not apply, how the income or asset is held, and by whom, often determines the applicable tax rate and treatment. Moreover, the laws of any two countries may not be in harmony with respect to how property is passed on to successors. The problem is particularly acute for high net-worth individuals and families with cross-border or multi-jurisdictional holdings. For example, if a U.S. citizen lives abroad and becomes a resident of a foreign country, the possibility that he or she will be subjected to double taxation may increase.

For all of these reasons, care must be taken to structure one’s financial assets and estate planning with an eye toward the various tax regimes which may apply. Among the factors to consider are the nationality and country of residency of the owner of any assets, along with those of any heirs or beneficiaries, particularly if the owner plans to donate them or create a trust. It is also necessary to evaluate the nature of the asset and how it is treated by various national tax regimes, and whether a bilateral tax treaty between the U.S. and the foreign jurisdiction would allow for a credit in one country for taxes paid in another.

At Thorn Law Group, we are adept at international estate planning. Our clients hail from all over the world. Our staff is comprised of former IRS attorneys and estate planning professionals who can offer the following forms of assistance:

  • Determining the residency of an estate for purposes of tax planning;
  • Exploring whether a revocable trust or irrevocable trust offers more favorable tax treatment;
  • Conducting an analysis to determine whether life changing events (such as marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, or the death of a family member) have the effect of transferring the ownership of certain assets, thus triggering tax consequences;
  • Assisting with the creation of a trust to facilitate the distribution of assets;
  • Analyzing whether a trust, family partnership or other structure will most benefit and fulfill your needs and wishes;
  • Serving as an estate planning advisor to a family office.

For a consultation and or to learn more about how an international tax and estate attorney from the Thorn Law Group can help you with your estate planning, contact Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner, at ket@thornlawgroup.com, or 703-752-3752.

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