You want to start your estate plan, but you know that it might be complex. You’ve lived in the United States for several years, but you also have a home overseas. You need your estate plan to take care of taxation here and there, to make sure your assets are distributed appropriately and to protect your interests in either country.
If you are now a United States citizen or resident but own property in another country, you may want to work with your attorney and a second attorney in the foreign country. They can discuss your case together and make sure that all laws and requirements are met.
If you want to work with just one attorney in the United States, then make sure you choose someone who is familiar with working on estates with foreign property. Your attorney will help you know if you will benefit from an estate tax treaty between your country and the United States or if you even have to worry about estate taxes at all. They can help you work out how to transfer assets to your heirs most effectively without causing a large tax bill.
You may have thought about having a will in each country to make things easier, but before you do that, remember that one will might cancel out the other one if you’re not cautious. It’s important to discuss this with your attorney and decide if you should have a second attorney on board with your estate plan in the other country. It may be beneficial to have your attorneys from two jurisdictions work together so that you’re sure your estate plan is sound.