Many people have an “international connection” which can — even inadvertently — have a significant impact on even the most detailed and well-thought out life and estate plans. International connections can include things like owning assets abroad, being married to a person who is a citizen or resident of another country, children or other heirs residing in another country or who are married to a person subject to taxation in another country. Even spending part of the year living abroad can, in some cases, create circumstances which could put otherwise water-tight estate plans at risk.
Without proper prior planning or adjustment to existing plans, some of international connections can result in a number of negative tax and inheritance consequences and even the loss of personal rights. For example, if you predecease one of your children who resides in Germany, a country which does not recognize the validity of trusts, without proper planning the trust assets you intended to leave for your child’s benefit could become subject to heavy German inheritance taxes. Instead, if you are a non-U.S. citizen who holds certain types of property (including real estate) in the U.S., your tax treatment can be different than that of a U.S. citizen. In another example of how the international connections can have an impact on your plans and wishes, if you spend significant time living outside the U.S. you may find that the other country will try to subject you or your assets to taxation or may not recognize your health care directive, living will and/or powers of attorney.
We work with our clients to identify potential international issues and — when necessary — team with local lawyers and accountants to find solutions which ensure that your life and estate plans can go forward as desired. The founder of our firm, Scott E. Squillace, Esq. lived and worked in Europe and Asia for nearly a decade. Admitted to the Paris Bar, Scott’s international affiliations and experience with these types of cross-border issues allow him to assist with estate planning worldwide. In addition to Scott, Marina Jaudenes, Esq., Of Counsel to the Firm and based in Miami, lived and worked in Europe for many years and has dealt with these international issues for clients as well as for her own business and planning objectives.
As part of its internationally focused practice, Squillace & Associates, P.C. assists assist clients with offshore trust planning as part of their overall estate planning needs. For more information about the types of planning that can benefit from the use of offshore trusts, read an article written by Scott E. Squillace for Offshore Investments magazine.
Additionally, we are members of STEP, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, which is an international organization of planning professionals. Membership in this organization allows us to both keep current with changes in rules and regulations in other countries while also providing a network of resources that aids in our assistance of clients. It is another support for us in helping to provide for families in life, estate and business planning. As a result of our international experience and networking, Squillace & Associates, P.C. is willing and able to help our international clients with their planning needs.