International Estate Planning
The world in which we live is becoming increasingly more global. It is common to have family members residing not only in multiple states in the U.S., but multiple countries around the globe. Individuals are choosing to work outside of their home country due to increased work opportunities, higher compensation elsewhere, and alternate tax structures. Investors are also becoming more savvy, always looking for a good investment opportunity, regardless of the location of the asset.
With one of the largest Private Client Services practices in the Western U.S., MLA has a growing and experienced international estate planning practice group. MLA blends its multidisciplinary legal team to formulate confidential, tax efficient, and highly individualized wealth managements plans. Our attorneys have experience in dealing with a broad range of estate planning matters involving multiple jurisdictions, such as Mexico, Japan, China, India, Singapore, Canada, countries throughout the European Union, Argentina, Venezuela, Indonesia and Brazil. In addition to English, our attorneys speak Arabic, Cantonese Chinese, Farsi, French, Georgian, German, Hindu, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Taiwanese and Vietnamese.
U.S. tax laws can become a quagmire for the unwary and the ill-advised client. Tax traps abound, but in knowing what to avoid and how to plan, there is opportunity for tax savings, instead of risk of tax problems. For non-U.S. persons, many may be surprised to learn that they may be subject to U.S. gift tax and estate (death) tax even though they are neither U.S. citizens nor residents. With proper international tax and estate planning, the U.S. estate tax for a non-U.S. citizen who is not residing in the U.S. may be minimized, deferred, or completely eliminated. Our services include:
- coordinating and developing an estate plan for individuals who have family and/or assets in multiple countries that will deal with potentially conflicting laws, minimizing to the extent possible double taxation, and carrying out the individual’s estate planning objectives;
- analyzing and advising on U.S. residency issues from a U.S. income tax perspective for a non-U.S. citizen person, living in the U.S. on a temporary basis;
- analyzing and advising on U.S. residency issues from a U.S. transfer tax perspective (i.e., gift, estate and generation skipping transfer tax) for a non-U.S. citizen person, living in the U.S.;
- advising the non-U.S. person on acquisitions of U.S. situs assets;
- coordinating and developing an estate plan to minimize and/or eliminate U.S. estate taxes on U.S. situs assets for the non-U.S. person;
- advising on the possible tax consequences and reporting requirements associated with making a gift or bequest to a U.S. beneficiary and developing a tax efficient plan to minimize U.S. transfer taxes both at the donor level and the donee level;
- advising on the U.S. income tax and transfer taxes that may arise for the married couple when one spouse is a U.S. citizen and one spouse is not;
- advising on the U.S. income tax, transfer tax, and reporting rules associated with establishing a non-U.S. trust that does or may have a beneficiary who is either a U.S. citizen or resident;
- advising on how to avoid inadvertent triggering of gift taxes when transferring funds or making gifts to beneficiaries residing in the U.S.;
- developing and implementing estate plans to minimize U.S. estate taxes on a non-U.S. person’s U.S. assets;
- providing pre-immigration and expatriation tax planning; and
- advising on U.S. tax and reporting obligations associated with the ownership of foreign assets and interests in foreign trusts, foreign corporations and foreign partnerships.
We believe in working with clients’ existing advisors in a coordinated effort to develop and implement tax efficient strategies that work both in the U.S. and in the other relevant country or countries. For those clients who do not have foreign advisors, we work closely with fellow members of the Pacific Rim Advisory Council, a by invitation-only-information and knowledge-sharing network of 31 major independent law firms worldwide with over 11,000 practicing attorneys in 41 countries.