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Estate Planning and Wills

Estate Planning and Wills

Old Jan 5th 2008, 4:42 pm
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Default Estate Planning and Wills

I have read and appreciate the entries on this topic but I was wondering if anyone can recommend a specific US attorney or estate planning group who can handle international situations.
Briefly, we are dual citizens with accounts and property still in the UK. Since we are resident in the US, the US is the main focus for estate planning. Still, we are having trouble finding a local US attorney who knows how to handle the foreign accounts. There are many questions unanswered such as: Will the UK bank accept a US death certificate should my heirs turn up there with one? Will the UK courts accept a US will describing the disposition of the property there? Will there be any UK inheritance tax due for non-residents? Can a living will in the US avoid probate in the UK? Etc, etc.
What I need is someone familiar with this - it is too important (and expensive!) for it not to be done correctly.
Thanks.
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Old Jan 5th 2008, 9:47 pm
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

Originally Posted by number10bus View Post
I have read and appreciate the entries on this topic but I was wondering if anyone can recommend a specific US attorney or estate planning group who can handle international situations.
Briefly, we are dual citizens with accounts and property still in the UK. Since we are resident in the US, the US is the main focus for estate planning. Still, we are having trouble finding a local US attorney who knows how to handle the foreign accounts. There are many questions unanswered such as: Will the UK bank accept a US death certificate should my heirs turn up there with one? Will the UK courts accept a US will describing the disposition of the property there? Will there be any UK inheritance tax due for non-residents? Can a living will in the US avoid probate in the UK? Etc, etc.
What I need is someone familiar with this - it is too important (and expensive!) for it not to be done correctly.
Thanks.
Might be worth looking at it from the other side and engaging a UK solicitor to give you advice on the UK specifics?
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Old Jan 5th 2008, 10:59 pm
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

Originally Posted by Big D View Post
Might be worth looking at it from the other side and engaging a UK solicitor to give you advice on the UK specifics?
I would second that.

I could guess the answers but you seem to have more major issues than most.
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Old Jan 6th 2008, 12:30 am
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

Thanks.
I have emailed my old UK solicitor today, so we'll see what he has to say.

From what I read, if you want to minimize inheritance tax for your heirs and to make the whole procedure as easy as possible for them, then some tax planning is required.
For example, we still own a flat in the UK, it is nothing over there but with UK house prices being what they are and with the dollar being so low, it is worth quite a lot of dollars. If US inheritance tax becomes due on it, the heirs will have to have a distress sale to pay the tax, they would never have enough liquidity to be able to afford the that amount of tax. One way might be to have life insurance to cover the tax.

I'd like to have someone guide me through all that and the other questions. I imagine that companies like that must be out there! Someone may eventually read this post who has been through a fairly complicated situation like this before.

When all is said and done, we hope to live to a ripe old age and spend everything we have!
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Old Jan 6th 2008, 12:55 am
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

Originally Posted by number10bus View Post
Thanks.
I have emailed my old UK solicitor today, so we'll see what he has to say.

From what I read, if you want to minimize inheritance tax for your heirs and to make the whole procedure as easy as possible for them, then some tax planning is required.
For example, we still own a flat in the UK, it is nothing over there but with UK house prices being what they are and with the dollar being so low, it is worth quite a lot of dollars. If US inheritance tax becomes due on it, the heirs will have to have a distress sale to pay the tax, they would never have enough liquidity to be able to afford the that amount of tax. One way might be to have life insurance to cover the tax.

I'd like to have someone guide me through all that and the other questions. I imagine that companies like that must be out there! Someone may eventually read this post who has been through a fairly complicated situation like this before.

When all is said and done, we hope to live to a ripe old age and spend everything we have!
Thats true in either country but especially so with cross border assets.
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 5:06 pm
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

I have made some progress! I add this update for interested members following this thread.

The UK solicitor did not have any international experience and could not direct me to anyone who could help. Amazing! It seems that Brits are all over the world and UK solicitors must have clients going overseas all the time. You'd think they would have cottoned on to this good business potential - a way of holding on to past customers.

Anyway, I eventually found out the following:
· A US will would be admitted to probate in the UK, although there will be additional steps because the US will is a "foreign will".
· If you own property in the UK, it is probably a good idea to have a UK will but it must clearly state that it only applies to UK assets; otherwise things can get very complicated!
· On the subject of taxation, the UK would levy death duties as applicable. However, owing to the tax treaties between the US and UK, there would not be double taxation. Nevertheless, even though there would be a credit against US inheritance tax, if the US tax was very low or nil, then there is a risk of your estate paying more tax overall. The inheritance tax rates and exemption amounts need to be taken into account in the UK when deciding how much of your estate is going to be there.
· You can expatriate (eg back to the UK) but as a former US resident, you would have to survive for a certain period of time before being free of US inheritance tax liability.

It is easy to get bogged down in all this so it is worth reminding myself, all things being equal, to live life responsibly and to have the most fun. The goal is not to leave as much money as possible. If the estate pays a bit more tax, then so be it!!
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

By the way, I have learned one more thing: I misused the term "living will" in my earlier posts. I should have said "living trust" which is also known as a "revocable trust".
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 5:12 pm
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

Originally Posted by number10bus View Post
I have made some progress! ............It is easy to get bogged down in all this so it is worth reminding myself, all things being equal, to live life responsibly and to have the most fun. The goal is not to leave as much money as possible. If the estate pays a bit more tax, then so be it!!
I am planning to die broke...
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 6:16 pm
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I have separate wills in each country ....
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 8:23 pm
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

Originally Posted by Ray View Post
I have separate wills in each country ....
Who makes/writes out wills out in the US, a laywer,notary or someone trained specially as a will writer. Are there specific companies ?
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 8:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Dogbyte View Post
Who makes/writes out wills out in the US, a laywer, or someone trained specially as a will writer. Are there specific companies ?
Any of the above ...
or DIY get basic will forms from the likes of Staples
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 10:17 pm
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

Originally Posted by Ray View Post
Any of the above ...
or DIY get basic will forms from the likes of Staples
which is the same as home - you can write your own and it'll be valid! Of course unless you have a very simple estate then a lawyer is worth while in any country!
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 10:18 pm
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

Originally Posted by number10bus View Post
I have made some progress! I add this update for interested members following this thread.

The UK solicitor did not have any international experience and could not direct me to anyone who could help. Amazing! It seems that Brits are all over the world and UK solicitors must have clients going overseas all the time. You'd think they would have cottoned on to this good business potential - a way of holding on to past customers.

There are probably juristictional issues - a UK solicitor would be reticient to give advice on foreign juristictions because of liability issues, also they arent qualified.
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 10:32 pm
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

Simply, they would not know.

US law varies by State, you can get abook from the library, bit wobbly is Louisiana.
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Old Jan 12th 2008, 10:35 pm
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Default Re: Estate Planning and Wills

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
Simply, they would not know.

US law varies by State, you can get abook from the library, bit wobbly is Louisiana.
thats cos its based on French law
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