Important Estate Planning Issues if You’re Moving Abroad

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused some people to leave the country. There also many other reasons why people choose to take residence in a foreign place including job opportunities or to live closer to loved ones. If you’re planning on moving out of the country, it’s critical to understand some potential estate planning implications. 


Select Someone to Oversee Your US Assets


If you still own any type of assets within the United States, you should consider utilizing a power of attorney to name an “attorney-in-fact”, which is a person who makes financial decisions on your behalf while you reside outside of the country. This person should be close to the assets in a question so they can help oversee them. This person might be granted various powers including the ability to pay bills and to apply for loans. 


Lowering Tax Liability


As someone who lives outside the country, you can utilize various strategies to decrease estate tax liability. You might decide to spend down income or pass on gifts to loved ones. Remember, in 2020, expats can gift up to $15,000 per person without facing taxes. It’s also important to take the necessary steps to avoid double taxation. 


Making Sure Your Will Remains Valid


What New York and the rest of the country require in a will to be valid is not universal in all countries. Instead, the country in which an expat resides might have different laws addressing how assets should be distributed. As a result, it’s critical to make sure that you create a method of passing on your assets that is recognized by the country where you reside at the time that you pass away. 


Trusts Don’t Always Travel


Much like wills, not all countries recognize trusts. As a result, trusts that are valid in New York or another state in the country might not be valid in a foreign country or might have unforeseen tax implications in another country. Consequently, if you’re interested in utilizing a trust, it’s important to consider what estate planning tools will be treated as valid in the country where you reside. 


Utilize Health Care Directives


Laws addressing health care change significantly between countries. To make sure that you receive the desired medical in case you are incapacitated or nearing the end of life, you should consider utilizing health care directives in your home state as well as the country where you now live. The health care directive should name an agent who will make medical decisions on your behalf. You can also describe the kind of medical care that you want if you are not able to represent yourself. You should also make sure that the person who will be assigned healthcare power of attorney is contacted immediately in case an emergency occurs. 


Speak with a Helpful Estate Planning Attorney

As you review your assets and assess whether to move out of the country, it can help to speak with an estate planning attorney. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today for assistance.

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