Planning for the World Traveler: Tips for International Estate Planning

Brent discusses the latest topics in international estate planning. As an estate planner, it is crucial to keep in mind that your clients are human, with concerns about managing incapacity and death, regardless of their citizenship or residency status. However, for world travelers, the complexity of estate planning increases significantly. Brent discusses five things to keep in mind when planning for the international client:

  1. Remember you are dealing with a human. Adequate powers of attorney, trusts when appropriate, wills or other testamentary instruments are just as important for non-citizen non-resident clients as they are for citizens and residents.
  2. Don’t assume what works here will work in their home jurisdiction. The world is complex, and foreign legal systems are often sophisticated. It is crucial to consult with a competent professional in the client’s home jurisdiction.
  3. Check if there is a relevant tax treaty for income or transfer taxes. In some cases, tax treaties can rewrite the rules that ordinarily apply.
  4. Carefully review all property your client owns in the US. Some property here is not subject to estate tax for non-residents, while some is. It is important to understand the difference, which can often be illogical.
  5. Don’t forget to ask about where all relevant family members are resident. Estate planning for non-citizen non-resident clients often requires planning for the laws of multiple countries, which may require a team in multiple countries to properly plan and coordinate.

By keeping these five things in mind, estate planners can provide valuable advice to world traveling clients and ensure that their estate planning goals are achieved. As you plan for your clients, remember that estate planning for world travelers requires unique consideration and attention to detail.

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