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Estate Planning and Foreign Assets

Have you thought about including your foreign assets in your estate plan? Having foreign assets can complicate your finances and require legal advice from a qualified estate planning attorney in Los Angeles.

Full disclosure of your assets is essential, or you could be setting up yourself or your beneficiaries for unpleasant, costly consequences. Experienced estate planning attorneys will help you adhere to the law and save as much money as possible while doing so.

Here, we'll discuss how foreign assets affect estate planning and how to make the most of the situation.

Estate Taxes on All Assets

United States citizens are subject to federal gift and estate taxes, regardless of where they reside and where their assets are located. As a result, including your foreign assets is a vital part of estate planning.

US citizens include people who were born in the US and anyone with at least one parent who was a US citizen at the time of their birth. These tax laws may also apply to those who have a domicile in the US. If you aren't sure whether or not this includes you, an estate planning lawyer can help you find out.

Some people forget to mention their foreign assets during the estate planning process, or else they don't think they need to include them in the process of estate tax planning. This isn't true, however.

Professional estate administration ensures that your estate is handled in a manner that will reduce taxes and fees upon your assets.

Ways to Protect Your Foreign Assets in Estate Planning

There are several ways to protect your foreign assets from the numerous fees and taxes they would otherwise be subject to. The estate planning process provides many opportunities to reduce your tax burden.

A Los Angeles estate lawyer can help you understand your options and provide a plan that caters to local law and local probate courts.

Here are some options that will help you make the most of your assets and avoid estate litigation.

Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney

When taxes and fees are involved, you need a great attorney with a broad range of experience. Estate matters are complex, and they require a specialist who will help you access all the tax breaks you can.

Gift tax planning will help you keep your reduced estate taxes and allow future generations to enjoy family wealth as seamlessly as possible. It can also help with business planning.

For example, if you have a bank account in the United Kingdom because you had business abroad or held a job there, you may be at a loss on how to integrate it with your US estate plan. A law firm that specializes in those areas can handle it smoothly.

It's also important to make sure your financial and legal services understand the specific laws in place in Los Angeles, California. Someone who knows local requirements and regulations will handle trust administration and other legal matters with the skill they require.

Full Disclosure is Crucial 

Hiding your assets, whether intentionally or not, is never a good strategy. In order for your estate planning lawyer to provide the best legal services possible, you must give them all of the relevant information.

This allows them to figure out how to pass on foreign assets to your family members and explain how those assets will affect your taxes.

For example, if you own property in Italy, it is essential to mention it during estate planning services. Otherwise, your estate plan will be left with a major gap that could render it ineffective.

Consider Having Multiple Wills

If your financial situation is complex, sometimes having more than one will can actually simplify probate matters. You may choose to have one US will and another that controls your foreign assets.

If you take this approach, make sure to have your legal representation in both countries get in touch. They will make sure the two wills do not conflict with each other. They'll also make sure each will is optimized for local probate law and fast processing by the courts.

Look Out for Double Taxation

Since US citizens are subject to gift and estate taxes, there is always the risk of double taxation. However, you may qualify for a foreign tax credit. For example, anyone with significant assets in another country may be subject to taxes in that country and also from the US government. Tax credits can lessen the burden.

A Los Angeles trust lawyer can help you navigate the bureaucratic system and ensure you get the tax credits you are entitled to.

Always Plan Ahead

Estate planning lawyers from a trusted law firm are experts in finding potential tax credits, creating trusts, and finding other ways to protect your assets. When you plan ahead and give them the time to do their job to the fullest, you can reap the benefits.

Planning ahead ensures that you are prepared for any situation and that you aren't hit by any surprises or penalties. It's never too early to have an expert handle your estate planning needs, and you'll likely find ways to save money in the future and make life easier for your beneficiaries!

Protect Your Foreign Assets with McKenzie Legal & Financial

Estate planning is a complex task, especially when you introduce foreign liquid assets into the mix. McKenzie Legal & Financial can help. We specialize in trusts and estates in the Los Angeles area,

Our estate planning attorney in Los Angeles has decades of experience working with high-net-worth individuals. He is a member of the California state bar and a registered financial consultant, giving him unique insight into income tax planning and other financial services.

Schedule a free consultation today to learn how we can integrate foreign assets into your estate plan and reduce the applicable taxes and fees. Download our complementary asset planning guide or contact us at 562-594-4200 at McKenzie Legal & Financial today!

Thomas McKenzie Law
Estate Planning Attorney in California. Full-service law firm specializing in estate plans, wills and trusts, long-term care, and financial consulting. Thomas L. McKenzie received his Juris Doctor degree from Western State University College of Law, in Fullerton, California. While working full-time at night and attending full-time daily classes, Tom graduated law school with honors in 1993.

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