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Jordan Hollins, Administrative Assistant June 26, 2024

In today’s interconnected world, individuals often find themselves with assets and interests spanning across multiple countries. From investments in foreign markets to properties overseas, the global citizen faces unique challenges when it comes to estate planning.

In this article, we will explore the concept of global legacy planning and provide valuable insights for individuals navigating assets in multiple countries.

What is Global Legacy Planning and Why is it Important?

Global legacy planning and international estate planning can come into play in a number of situations. For example, some of our clients live abroad and expect to inherit property, funds, investments, etc. from a U.S. bound relative and wonder how to handle the situation. Others are expats who live abroad and still have assets stateside.

Many of our clients want to ensure that their assets are protected and passed onto their beneficiaries smoothly without excess tax liability or double taxation. This can involve coordinating with various legal systems and cultural differences.

Engaging in global legacy planning with an experienced estate planning attorney can help ensure that you have a cohesive strategy that navigates these complexities.

Each country (and U.S. state) has its own legal requirements for estate planning. Global legacy planning ensures compliance with all relevant jurisdictions, reducing the risk of legal disputes and complications in the future. It can also have certain asset protection benefits, such as shielding assets from creditors or an ex-spouse. Ultimately, estate planning is meant to give you peace of mind knowing your wealth and family are taken care of.

International Assets to Consider When Drafting An Estate Plan

You may be curious what constitutes an 'asset' of an estate. Knowing what type of assets you have is crucial.

Assets are anything of value that you own. They can come in various forms, ranging from tangible to intangible.

  1. Tangible Assets:  These are physical possessions you can touch and feel. Examples include real estate, vehicles, jewelry, art, and collectibles.

  2. Financial Assets: Financial assets represent ownership of something valuable that can be converted into cash. Examples include:

    • Cash and Cash Equivalents: Money in your bank account, savings and checking accounts.

    • Investments: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement accounts, and other securities.

    • Savings: Certificates of deposits (CDs), money market accounts, and treasury bills.

  3. Intangible Assets: These are assets without physical substances but still hold value. Examples include:

    • Intellectual property: Trademarks, patents, copyrights, and brand recognition.

    • Digital Assets: Cryptocurrencies, domain names, and digital content.

How An Inheritor's Trust Helped this International Family Protect Their Wealth

Now that you understand what constitutes an asset, let’s talk about how to protect them.

Consider this recent case we've taken on: a group of clients residing in Portugal, still holding U.S. citizenship, were anticipating a substantial inheritance from an Ohio relative.

Our clients also had some assets in Ohio, including a brokerage account and savings account, both which they had designated beneficiaries for. But, they didn't know how to handle the impending large inheritance. How could they adequately prepare stateside for assets they did not yet possess?

In this situation, we established an Inheritor's Trust to protect their wealth. We were able to not only safeguard their assets but also ensure a smooth transfer to their children when they pass away. This is just one example of how global legacy planning can provide peace of mind for individuals with international assets.

Working with an Estate Planning Attorney to Create an International Legacy Plan

Navigating the intricacies of global legacy planning requires foresight, expertise, and an understanding of diverse legal landscapes. By working closely with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can create a comprehensive plan tailored to your unique international circumstances. Whether you are an expat with stateside assets or expecting an inheritance from another country, proactive global legacy planning can provide the peace of mind that comes from knowing your wealth and loved ones are protected.

Give us a call at 614-389-9711 to schedule an appointment.

IMPORTANT: We can only take on clients that have some assets in Ohio.