What is estate planning and why do immigrants need it?
Immigrants often come to Sarasota for the investment opportunities and the relaxed atmosphere. For some, their peak earning years are behind them and they are looking to retire or semi-retire. Canadians, Germans, and UK citizens regularly fit this category. We are more than willing to help our clients plan the immigration strategy that works best for them, but we often find that they need assistance in other legal matters as well. For immigrant investors, one of those matters is estate planning. We are not experts in estate planning so we recommend our clients go to other attorneys, such as Bradley Magee.
Attorney Bradley Magee is a trusts and estates lawyer in Sarasota. He recently provided us with some of the information he gives to his clients and we decided to post it on immigrationsarasota.com as a resource for immigrants who may need these legal services. For more information on these legal matters please contact Mr. Magee: (941) 918-9894.
Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate during life. Estate planning typically attempts to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of a probate (execution of the Will after death) and maximize the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. Guardians are often designated for minor children and beneficiaries in incapacity.
An important consideration for any foreign person contemplating immigration to the US is that after establishing US residence for US income and transfer tax purposes, they will be subject to the global application of the US income tax and taxation of their worldwide estate for US estate tax purposes. Before coming to the US, such a client should consider accelerating taxable income, postponing possible income tax deductions and engaging in other asset and trust transactions to limit or eliminate future US income and transfer tax risks.
This is one of the most common issues we come across. Standing for Foreign Investment in Real Property Act, FIRPTA authorizes the IRS to collect taxes on real estate transactions carried out by foreigners. The IRS does so in several ways, including.
- Withholding tax: When the non-resident, non-citizen (NRNC) sells the property, any gain realized will be subject to tax, and the buyer must generally withhold 10% of the purchase price and remit it to the US government.
- Rental Property Income Tax: There is a general 30% withholding on rental income from US real property owned by the NRNC unless a treaty provision changes that or the NRNC elects to have the rental activity treated as a US trade or business subject to the US tax generally.
There are strategies for mitigating this tax burden and we urge our readers to consult with a trusts and estates attorney and a CPA who is in expert in foreign tax matters.
Estate Planning Attorney Bradley D. Magee
Bradley D. Magee practices law devoted to wills, trusts, estate planning, probate, taxation, business transactions, contracts and non-profits in Sarasota, FL. Mr. Magee became an attorney in 1983, a Certified Public Accountant in 1987, and is a former litigator for the Internal Revenue Service. He received a Juris Doctorate Degree and a Master of Taxation Degree from the University of Akron, and an LL.M. in Taxation Degree from the University of Florida Law School. He is a member of the Florida Bar in good standing since 1990.
As he explains there are 8 estate planning issues that everyone must address:
- Wills – A legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children.
- Trusts – A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts can be arranged in many ways and can specify exactly how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries.
- Durable Powers of Attorney – This is a power of attorney that will continue to be effective even if the grantor becomes incapacitated.
- Living Wills – A set of written instructions that a person gives that specify what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions due to illness or incapacity.
- Health Care Surrogates – A health care surrogate is an adult who is appointed to make healthcare decisions for you when you become unable to make them for yourself.
- Pre-Need Declarations of Guardian – This document states your preference for a guardian of both you and your property if you should become incompetent to manage your own affairs.
- HIPAA Medical Release – This allows others to see your private medical data.
- MEDICAID Planning – The process of utilizing and protecting assets within state and federal guidelines, in the event of a costly, long-term nursing home stay or an extended at home stay.
Bradley Magee can help Sarasota immigrants with all these documents. For more information please contact Mr. Magee: (941) 918-9894.