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Understanding complications with overseas estate plans

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2020 | Trust, Estate Planning, and Probate |

Families with multinational assets and residencies in areas like New York, Florida and Germany have a unique problem when it comes to protecting wealth in the event of a close family passing. Families with significant wealth have an even higher concern if they own in excess of $23 million. Luckily for these families, the death tax exemption level was raised in 2019 to $22.8 million. However, those who fall below this wealth standard are often still concerned about inheritance laws. For this primary reason, it may be beneficial to have an estate planning legal professional watching out for all family assets.

A central estate planning issue for wealthy families will be the general estate and gift tax laws within the United States. Deaths that occur outside the U.S. will first be subject to national or territorial international estate planning law. After jurisdictional requirements are applied, U.S and specific state laws will apply for asset transfers.

Conversely, when the actual death occurs inside the U.S., state and federal laws within the states will apply first before external requirements are applied to any financial transfers. The goal of any estate plan is to maximize exemptions in all jurisdictions, hopefully avoiding any form of estate probate in the process. The structure by which assets are disbursed via last will and testament or a trust is crucial to reducing claims from potential outliers or government tax entities.

Crafting these types of estate plans is where international estate planning attorneys may be invaluable because the typical individual is not always current on new inheritance tax regulations. Congress and the various state legislatures are subject to amend or add new laws at any time, so having an experienced estate planning attorney continually evaluating an estate plan might be vital for protecting wealth.