International Estate Planning

One of our busiest practice areas is cross-border wealth planning.  U.S. citizens and residents increasingly have businesses and investments abroad, and many foreign investors are eager to participate in U.S. business opportunities.

When people or their money move across borders, it often triggers special tax rules that may catch many people unaware.  A lack of appropriate tax counseling can result in unnecessary taxes, or worse, trouble with the IRS.  Tax infractions can have particularly harsh consequences for those here on a U.S. visa, leading to deportation or as grounds to deny an application for citizenship.

international-flagsOur Cross-Border Wealth Planning practice helps clients understand the tax consequences of foreign transactions, immigration, and expatriation.  We assess your financial situation to ensure you’re in full compliance with U.S. tax laws, while at the same time recommending ways to legally reduce your overall tax bill.

We also counsel clients on estate planning in the international context.  If you are a U.S. resident and own assets outside the U.S., those assets could be subject to the probate laws of the country in which they are located – which means they may not be subject to the terms of a U.S. will.  Many countries apply inheritance laws that are very different from those we are familiar with in the U.S.  Some countries apply forced heirship laws or don’t recognize the concept of a U.S. trust.  Failure to incorporate these differences into your estate plan can have disastrous consequences for your family.  If you own assets in other countries, it is important to retain a lawyer who is familiar with the unique aspects of international estate planning.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and own assets in the U.S., specialized tax planning is necessary to avoid the draconian U.S. estate tax rules that apply to non-U.S. citizens.


Below is a list of some of the services we offer through our Cross-Border Wealth Planning practice.  Feel free to contact us for a complimentary consultation about how we can assist you with your particular situation.

Basic Assessment of U.S. Tax and Financial Reporting Obligations

Our basic assessment service is recommended for:

  1. U.S. Foreign Nationals who have non-U.S. income or own assets abroad

  2. Foreign investors in U.S. assets (or those considering investing in U.S. assets)

Our Basic Assessment includes:

  • Reviewing your assets and income as they relate to current and potential U.S. taxation;

  • Providing you with the information necessary to comply with your U.S. tax obligations; and

  • Identifying areas in which you may benefit from further tax planning.

Related Topics:  The Importance of Tax Counseling for Foreign Nationals; U.S. Income Taxation in the International Context; International Estate Planning; Financial Reporting Obligations Under FATCA;  Foreign Report of Foreign Bank Accounts (FBAR) Compliance

Pre-Immigration Planning

Immigrating to another country can be intimidating and stressful.  We make it easier by providing you with the information you need about U.S. taxes and developing a plan to minimize your overall tax liability.  We will take a thorough inventory of your assets, assess your potential U.S. tax liability, compare that with your tax liability in your home country, and recommend a plan of action that will minimize your overall taxes if you do become a permanent U.S. resident.

Related Topics:  Why Pre-Immigration Planning Is Necessary

Cross-Border Estate Planning

Cross-border estate planning is recommended for:

  1. U.S. citizens or permanent residents who own assets located outside the U.S.;

  2. U.S. visa holders who intend to apply for a green card; and

  3. Foreign nationals who own U.S. investments

We will help you implement a plan to distribute your assets, no matter where in the world they are located, so you can be sure your loved ones will be taken care of and your taxes will be minimized.  We work with counsel in other countries to ensure that your plan is consistent with local inheritance laws and will be effective when the time comes.

Related Topics:  Cross-Border Estate Planning

Expatriation Planning

Due to recently-enacted reporting requirements and increasing taxes, many U.S. citizens living abroad or green card holders who do not wish to return to the U.S. are relinquishing their U.S. citizenship in record numbers.  We assist clients with planning and filing for expatriation from the U.S.  If you wish to relinquish your U.S. citizenship or green card, you may be subject to the Expatriation Tax.  We can advise you on whether you are subject to the tax and, if so, help develop a plan to minimize its impact.

Related Topics:  Expatriation Tax

Contact Shannon McNulty

If you or someone you know is in need of international tax and estate planning, I invite you to contact me.  I am an experienced tax and estate attorney with specific experience helping clients with unique and complicated international planning needs.