Own Property in a Foreign Country? Don’t Forget to Plan for the Disposition in Your Estate Planning Documents
I have had the good fortune to travel all over the world and love looking at the real estate deals around the world. While I only dream about owning property in another country, I know many individuals pursue their dream and own real estate in different states as well as other foreign countries. Recently I visited Quebec and spoke with an individual who said many Floridians visit Quebec in the summer (to get away from the HOT Florida summers) and even purchase homes in Quebec to enjoy the snow skiing season.
One question we ask our clients is whether they own property in a foreign country as well as in another state. It is extremely important to plan for those instances when your client dies. Many foreign countries have strict inheritance requirements and other states have different laws regarding ancillary administrations. States and foreign countries may also impose significant state and foreign taxes.
For example, I have worked on estate administrations when the clients did not plan for dispositions of time shares or vacations homes purchased in different states. Unfortunately a LOT of money was spent on these homes and probates in several different states are often required. To avoid additional legal costs and fees at death, estate planning advice could be as simple as titling those properties in a trust or in joint names with a child or spouse. Foreign countries may have other issues besides ancillary administrations and consultation with a local attorney in jurisdictions outside the state of Florida is advised (obtaining advice should avoid a malpractice action or a grievance competence complaint).
ADVICE: Be sure and include a question in your questionnaire (if you are an attorney, CPA or other adviser) whether a client owns foreign or out of state property or disclose to your adviser (if you are a client) of ANY property located outside the state of Florida or outside the United States. Retain appropriate legal counsel in those jurisdictions to help with estate planning, estate administration AND state tax consequences.
GENEROSITY IS A KEY TO HAPPINESS …REACH OUT AND HELP SOMEONE TODAY!