If your spouse is not a US Citizen, you face all the common Estate Planning issues plus the potential complications raised by marrying foreigner. We are happy to walk you through your options in person, feel free to call us! Meanwhile, here is a short introduction to some typical estate issues that arise when your spouse is not a US Citizen.
Prenuptial Agreements: Marriage is about love, but it is also about business. Not all matches are successful, and the end of a marriage between people of different nationalities can raise complicated ownership and tax questions. Consequently, a Prenuptial Agreement is a must. If you don’t have your prenuptial agreement the state gives you a prenuptial agreement; you just don’t have a say in the terms. So, accept the State provided cookie-cutter prenuptial agreement, or you are free to work out a deal that best fits your particular relationship. For more, please read our articles about Prenuptial Agreements.
Irrevocable Trusts: You may have assets you wish to keep separate from those of your spouse. Or, if you have children from your prior marriage, you may have assets you want to keep apart for their benefit. An Irrevocable Trust is an excellent tool to hold assets, sheltered from creditors and divorces. Forming and funding this trust before your wedding is a great strategy to keep these assets from becoming entangled in your future marriage. In addition, this preemptive act helps protect these assets from your future creditors and if your union is unsuccessful, from your spouse. For more information, read our section about Irrevocable Trusts.
Revocable Trusts: A revocable trust can be a useful tool when you don’t wish to give up control over an asset, but you want to document that you entered the marriage with the asset and to separate these assets from your marital assets. Is a Revocable Trust Right for You? Read more in our Revocable Living Trust article.
If you have no plan, then your assets pass under the State’s plan. This plan might subject your estate to high death taxes. Also, without a Will, there are no protective trusts for your spouse or children. Further, your spouse or your children may receive more or less than you intend, leaving your wishes disregarded. A Will allows you to craft a plan that reflects your real desires. The Intestacy Rules do not take your wishes into consideration.
Estate Planning: Marriage allows spouses to work as a team. Married couples may use estate planning methods to shelter assets for the surviving spouse. Further, a married couple can use their status to create protection for children that would not otherwise exist. Therefore, Estate Planning can protect your surviving spouse, beneficiaries, and heirs; plan for illness or disability; preserve your estate; avoid probate; avoid disputes; making your will “contest proof.” Let’s talk!
Will: Without a Will, the state decides where your assets pass at death. The State provides no protective trusts and disregards your wishes.
QDOT, Qualified Domestic Trust: Follow the link for more details. A QDOT helps avoid Death Taxes if your estate is large enough.
Addressing Assets Overseas: The IRS considers all assets, worldwide, as part of your estate. Other countries take a different view. Tax treaties exist that may affect your planning, and many countries require real estate to pass under local rules. If you have assets overseas, careful planning can avoid substantial legal and tax headaches.
Funeral Arrangements: Disputes erupt between children from first marriages and new spouses regarding funeral arrangements and the location of your burial. Naming the right person or persons to control these decisions in your Funeral Directive can avoid conflict.
Financial Power of Attorney: If you are unable to make decisions for yourself because of some accident or medical issue, who makes your financial decisions? This person may be your spouse, a child or two people working as Co-Agents. You can choose this team and avoid a court appointed Guardian with a Durable General Power of Attorney.
Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will: If you are not competent to make your medical decisions, who decides which doctor treats you or if medical care is withdrawn? You select this person by executing a Living Will and Medical Proxy. Review this power regularly.
Revocable Trust: For married couples, a Revocable Living Trust has many purposes. To learn if a Revocable Living Trust is right for you, follow this link to Revocable Trust in depth. In short, they are particularly useful if you have a second marriage and wish to have children from the first marriage involved in overseeing assets. Further, a Revocable Trust allows you to keep your assets separate from your spouse’s.
Irrevocable Trust: An Irrevocable Trust is an excellent tool to protect assets from creditors, keep assets separate from your spouse’s assets, reduce estate and inheritance taxes and remove property that might cause a dispute between your spouse and children at your death. Irrevocable Trusts address many different situations. For more, read about these versatile tools:
If you have any questions about estate planning when your spouse is not a US citizen or any other estate planning topics, feel free to contact us to schedule a free consultation. For more than two decades Klenk Law has focused only on Estate Law. We’ve seen it all, and this experience allows us to explain complex estate planning techniques clearly and concisely. We make it easy for you to understand estate planning so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family.
Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.
Peter was excellent. He explained everything very clearly and is super friendly. My wife and I originally tried using a lawyer through group legal coverage, but unfortunately the old adage - "you get what you pay for" - applied to the other lawyer, and we decided to go with a real professional.
When it came down to picking the right attorney to handle my affairs, I knew right away it was this firm. From speaking to their secretary to speaking to Peter I knew I was making the right decision. After only a few mins Peter knew right away what I was looking for and handled all my questions professionally and even gave me great feedback that put my mind at ease. All that without even giving a single penny! So of course I hired him! So far so good...
AWESOME LAWYER! Peter Klenk is an exceptional attorney and a very nice person! Today I spoke with Peter about estate planning and was impressed with by his professionalism, cordiality, and attention to detail. I highly recommend Klenk Law for probates, wills, trusts, and other issues germane to estate planning!
Great friendly staff
Tremendous firm with bright, kind and tenacious people. Great representation for our family.
I'm totally satisfied with Klenk Law. Peter has a great legal mind with the personality of the guy next door.
Everything about my experience was a 10+! Peter and his staff made what I thought would be a difficult process easy and understandable. Every detail was handled correctly. No other firm could possibly do better than Klenk Law!
Peter and his staff are very responsive and always willing to help my clients and in a cost efficient manner.
Like another reviewer, I contacted Peter through his website using the free consultation link, for a question regarding PA inheritance taxes. The question was quite technical and difficult to explain, and the answer was nowhere to be found on the web. Peter grasped precisely what I was asking, and provided a clear, helpful response (with a touch of humor) the very next day.
Answered my question quickly and referred me to a colleague that could handle my problem
Mr. Klenk, quickly understood the circumstances presented and provided clear and concise advice. This advice provided me with the information I required to progress the case to my advantage.
Peter is excellent. I had a very complicated situation with my parents' estate planning and potential Medicaid needs. Peter was very knowledgeable in estate planning matters, able to define the best solution for the situation. Additionally, he was congenial and able to communicate effectively to my senior citizen parents the benefits of estate planning. He earned my trust, and more importantly, my parents' trust in a 45 mins consultation period. Highly recommend Peter. He is very easy to work with.
Peter recently gave a presentation about Wills & Trusts at my employer, and it was fantastic! He was extremely knowledgeable and provided valuable information to the group. People were very engaged and asked several questions, all of which Peter thoroughly answered. Personally, my husband and I have selected Peter to help us with our estate planning, and he has been very helpful in providing us with all of the information we need to provide a secure future for our family. Thank you, Peter!
Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.
Peter explained things in a way that was easy to understand. Everything was done in the time frame he said it. Could not have been better!
You & your staff are the best thank you for everything.
Peter and his staff handled all of our needs in a very professional and timely matter.
Peter Klenk made a complex subject understandable and allowed us to move forward with our estate planning. He was patient with our questions and creative in the solutions he proposed.
Peter explained a complex subject very clearly, helped us to decide the best approach to managing our estate and then made it very easy for us to execute the required documents. He will be a valuable resource for years to come and clearly has a great understanding of estate law that will lead to innovative solutions for us. I would unhesitatingly recommend him for estate planning.
Fantastic customer service. Very personable and most importantly they provide great explanations of what is required based on your individual needs. Highly recommend Klenk Law for anyone that needs to create a will and estate documents.
Always professional and very responsive. Everyone on the staff that I have worked with. I look forward to continuing our relationship.
Affable...yet surprisingly cerebral estate planning atty. High marks all the way around.
Peter and his associates made things easy for us.