Global: Estate Planning

Besides the mentioned aspects of Wages and Income Tax, expats are advised to also pay attention to the legal and tax aspects of Estate Planning.

Estate planning is the total process of planning your estate to make sure that the value of your assets does not decrease unnecessarily when you pass away. While also ensuring that important aspects of your estate are handled correctly.

You can start planning your estate at any stage in life. It is important to do so once you have substantial assets which you need to manage in the event of your death.

Estate plans are unique to every personal situation but will i.e. include:

  • Creating an expat will
  • Minimising taxes by setting up the appropriate financial structures
  • Guardianship of living dependants
  • Naming of an executor of your estate
  • Creating or updating beneficiaries on your financial plans
  • Pre-organising and potentially paying for your funeral arrangements
  • Setting up a power of attorney to direct other assets and investments

The legal requirements concern how to stipulate the will in a correct manner. In which process the projection of the kind and amount of future Inheritance Tax is relevant.

As expats tend to relocate, it is important to make sure that experts advise expats about the differences between countries and how to optimize their estate planning.

In order to determine the applicable civil law, you have to look at the International Civil Law of the relevant countries. Which can be quite difficult as for example certain personal choices in one country are not always accepted as valid in another country.

If it concerns Member States of the EU, the EU Inheritance Regulation of 2015 is relevant. Even though it only addresses the civil law and not the tax issues.

Regarding the Inheritance Tax the national regimes can be quite different. As for example the UK and Dutch system are quite stern while Sweden and Portugal have no such taxes.

It pays off to plan ahead and seek the best advice.

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