If this is the year you finally put an estate plan in place, good for you! It’s an important endeavor that requires a lot of careful thought – and legal guidance.
One thing that too many people who try to rush through the process and just get something in place forget is their foreign assets. You don’t have to be a tech billionaire or business mogul to have foreign assets. Many Floridians have vacation property in Mexico or the Caribbean. Perhaps you inherited a small piece of property in your ancestral homeland in Europe or South America. Maybe you invested in a friend’s business in another country. Maybe you worked abroad a while and still have some bank accounts there.
This is a good time to consider whether you want to keep those assets, sell them or gift them to loved ones or perhaps a charitable organization while you’re still alive. If you want to keep them, then they need to be part of your estate planning.
Why you’ll likely need separate estate plans
Every country has different probate laws. Therefore, it’s best to get legal guidance from someone in that country in addition to your Florida legal representation so that they can work together as needed.
You’ll likely need a separate will and possibly other estate planning documents in the other country. As with your Florida estate plan, you want to make things as uncomplicated as possible for your loved ones after you’re gone.
Therefore, if you’re keeping your foreign assets and bequeathing them to others, let them know about it. Make sure they want to deal with the tax, legal and financial issues involved – as well as the travel, work and expense that may be required. By taking the time to get your estate (both here and abroad) in order, you can better control what happens to it and be sure it ends up with those who want and appreciate it.