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Foreign assets and estate planning

In a world getting more globalized, people from Florida are increasingly investing in foreign assets, such as large olive groves in Turkey, mansions in Europe and yachts on the Seine. Those investors have to know how they should structure the ownership of their assets in order to optimize estate and tax planning.

When purchasing foreign assets, individuals should take several factors into consideration. For starters, Americans ought to know that they are not exempt from paying taxes on their foreign assets when it comes to estate taxes. In that same vein, asset owners would do well to disclose everything they own, regardless of where it is located, to their estate attorney when coming up with their estate plan. These people might be spared a little if there are treaties with the country in which the asset exists, but the general rule is to prepare for taxes.

Speaking of treaties with different countries, some individuals might find it advantageous to draft two wills instead of one depending on where the asset is located. One will can be used to disperse the foreign assets whereas the other one can be used to deal with domestic assets. With two wills, people should find probate a lot easier, but they must make sure that one will does not cancel out the other.

Asset owners might benefit from hiring an experienced estate attorney to help them at key junctures. For instance, a good attorney might advise their clients as to whether purchasing a certain foreign asset might be a good idea given what the asset is and where it is located. Also, an attorney may be able to help structure the ownership of an asset to comply with the foreign country's laws while still minimizing the amount owed to estate taxes.

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Kramer A. Litvak, P.A.
226 East Government Street
Pensacola, FL 32502

Toll Free: 866-717-9528
Phone: 850-308-1677
Phone: 850-432-0485
Fax: 850-432-9830
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