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January 24, 2016

5 Essential US Expatriate Estate Planning Steps

1. US Expatriates do need to plan for both their foreign assets and US assets in the event of their demise.  The US does look at your worldwide assets and if their values exceed approximately 5.45 million dollars you must file an estate tax return and may owe US estate taxes.

2. Also, if you give gifts of either foreign property or assets located in the US in excess of $14,000 per year per donee you must file a US gift tax return, though it is likely you may not owe any US gift taxes due to the lifetime exclusion mentioned above for estate and gift taxes.

3. In the US you may need a will, power of attorney and a trust to properly dispose of your assets locate there and void expensive and long probates. The trust in large estates may also reduce you estate taxes.

4. If you wish your children to live in the US, your US will can be used to appoint guardians for your children (while they are still minors) and guardians for their assets (this can also be done in the trust you establish).

5. Where your US estate plan documents will effectively pass on your assets located in other countries if subject to each countries laws and a local attorney in each country should be consulted to confirm whether the US documents will be honored or separate wills, etc. must be executed for each country to meet local requirements.

We can help you put together your US estate plan, and often prepare all necessary documents and assist you with coordinating your plan with counsel in your country of residence.  If you require assistance please email me at

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