Our Knowledgeable Lawyers Advise Non-U.S. Citizens to Create a U.S. Estate Plan

Non-U.S. citizens residing in the United States can create estate plans, and it’s highly advisable that they do. In legal terms, your “estate” simply means all of your assets, including bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, and personal possessions. Estate planning is done to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes when you die, and it’s equally important for non-U.S. citizens as it is for citizens. Without an estate plan, your assets may be distributed by following state laws, which might not reflect your wishes and could complicate matters for your loved ones. Non-U.S. citizens and estate planning

Regardless of the complexities or challenges of being a non-U.S. citizen, you should still create an estate plan with the experienced lawyers at Alatsas Law Firm who understand international law and can help safeguard your assets and create documents that reflect your wishes.

Important Estate Planning Documents for Non-U.S. Citizens

Estate planning documents are important for everyone, regardless of citizenship status. The most important documents include a last will and testament, which is used after you die, a health care power of attorney, which gives someone else the power to make health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated, and guardianship documents for any minor children you have.

Not having these documents in place can lead to serious complications, especially if you are not a U.S. citizen. For example, you might want to create an international will. Or you may need multiple wills to make sure the laws are satisfied in your home country as well as the U.S.

Potential Tax Implications for Non-U.S. Citizen Estates

Tax implications in estate planning can be complex, particularly for non-U.S. citizens. For example, gift tax exemptions for spouses may not apply if your spouse is not a citizen. Assets in other countries bring additional potential tax challenges. Without informed tax planning, your loved ones could be subject to a large tax burden, even being charged in more than one country. If you have assets in other countries or are a high-net-worth individual, your assets may be subject to different laws and tax regulations.

An experienced estate planning lawyer can work with you on handling assets such as investments, life insurance, property in other countries, and other assets so that tax burdens are minimized.

Resident Non-U.S. Citizens With Children

If you and your spouse have children and one spouse is not a citizen, having an estate plan is incredibly important as you will need to establish who will have legal guardianship of any minor children if both parents are gone. This ensures that your children will be placed in the care of individuals you trust and who share your values.

However, non-U.S. citizens may face complications related to minor children, especially if you name foreign guardians for them. There are legal and logistical challenges that must be planned for in advance so the children’s best interests are protected. Work with an estate planning lawyer who understands how to navigate U.S. and international law regarding guardianship planning for minor children.

Immigration and Non-U.S. Citizen Estates

Immigration status may also affect estate planning. Non-U.S. citizens should consult with a lawyer who can help you understand how your immigration status could affect your ability to own certain types of assets or the ability to have assets transferred to beneficiaries after they die.

Keep Estate Plans Current

Everyone should understand the importance of regularly updating estate plans to reflect any changes in their life circumstances. Marriage, divorce, the birth of or adoption of children, or major changes in financial status can all warrant revising plans for your estate. Otherwise, your assets may not be distributed the way you want.

A New York Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help Non-U.S. Citizens

Non-U.S. citizens can and should establish comprehensive estate plans that will provide peace of mind and protect their assets. Seeking guidance from a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help non-U.S. citizens navigate the complexities of estate planning, minimize tax burdens, and protect assets for loved ones after they are gone.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen living in New York, consult with a Brooklyn estate planning lawyer who understands international matters and can help non-U.S. citizens navigate these complexities and create customized estate plans tailored to their unique circumstances.