We’ve all heard the line about death and taxes. What many haven’t heard, though, is the certainty that estate taxes for those who are not U.S. citizens—but who have U.S. assets—can be complicated and unexpected.
In other words, cross-border financial planning is complex. Even if you never set foot in the U.S. and don’t open a financial account in the country, you may end up with cross-border estate tax issues. If you own U.S. situs assets, which includes things like investments in U.S. companies, real estate, or retirement accounts, but are a nonresident alien (NRA), you need to think about how your estate could be taxed on those assets when you die.
Although this article is not legal advice, I want to offer some points to help you figure out how much your estate could owe if you died tomorrow, and how you might think about restructuring your investments to protect your heirs from an unexpected bill from Uncle Sam.