Estate Planning Strategies for Non-U.S. Citizens 101
Estate Planning Strategies for Non-U.S. Citizens 101

If you are interested in learning some estate planning strategies for non-U.S. citizens, this article is an excellent place to start. Use these basic rules to decide how to begin estate planning today.

For non-U.S. citizens and spouses of non-U.S. citizens, estate planning can be a confusing ordeal. For one thing, many estate planning strategies that citizens of the United States use to protect their assets are not available to non-citizens. Furthermore, if you are a U.S. resident, the IRS will treat your estate in a similar fashion to a citizen’s, though differences between the two categories still exist.

Here are some key things to know.

What Does It Mean to Be a Resident of the United States?

For the purposes of estate planning, residency in the United States—as defined by the IRS—depends on a few factors. First and foremost, your domicile must be located in the United States at the time of your death. Whether your home within the U.S. is considered a domicile depends on a few criteria: 1) whether you live there with the intention of making it a permanent residence, 2) the time you spend there relative to other countries, 3) the relative values of your home and business within the U.S. compared to any you own outside it, 4) your visa status, 5) ties to your communities, and 6) where your family is located.

As you can see, residency is a complicated matter, which means any estate planning strategies for non-U.S. citizens need to be checked and double checked for mistakes.

One of the reasons it is important to determine whether you are a resident is that if you are, you will be able to take advantage of the gift and estate tax exemption as well as the gift tax exclusion—that’s $11.58 million and an annual $15,000, respectively.

What If You Are a Non-Resident?

If you are neither a citizen or a resident of the U.S., you still have options, just not as many. The good news is, you are only subject to gift and estate taxes on property that is situated within the U.S.

While you can still take advantage of the annual $15,000 gift tax exclusion as a non-resident, you can’t split those gifts with your spouse. What’s more, the $11.58 million estate tax exemption plummets to a measly $60,000—as anyone who has substantial assets knows, that doesn’t go very far toward saving on taxes.

To sum it all up, if you hold valuable assets in the United States and you are not a citizen, it could take a lot of work and expertise to save your estate from paying a lot in taxes.

Get Your Estate Planning Strategies for Non-U.S. Citizens from a Qualified Attorney

Are you a non-U.S. citizen living in the United States? If you want to ensure that your property passes on to your loved ones without accruing an exorbitant tax burden, you need to consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning for non-U.S. citizens. Get in touch with the attorneys at Casal & Moreno today so that we can discuss your case and devise a plan that suits your needs.