Cultural barriers can impact your estate planning in unexpected ways. If you want to start an estate plan in the United States but your family’s culture gets in the way, it can be frustrating. But given tax and estate laws here, you should try to overcome cultural barriers.
Why Cultural Barriers Can Impact Estate Planning
In some cultures, it is not acceptable to talk about death or the end of life. Planning for that time is just not something that people do. Unfortunately, this cultural expectation can lead to greater burdens on surviving family members when death does come. For example, the family may end up paying enormous estate taxes or dealing with challenging legal issues. A little advance planning could have saved the family money and trouble.
How to Move Forward
Convincing people with deep cultural connections to talk about planning for the end of life is not easy. Looking at the numbers, however, can be very convincing. For example, a non-resident alien who purchases a $1.5 million house in the United States could trigger a $495,000 estate tax in the future, along with tens of thousands of dollars in probate costs.
The United States estate and tax laws are different than in other countries. When your family members are not citizens but own property here, they may be unaware of the tax consequences. Fortunately, there are ways to plan now for eventual estate taxes in the future.
What Your Family May Need
When you begin estate planning, your family may need a lawyer to take a comprehensive look at all your assets and plans for them in the future. This will help you anticipate tax issues for your estates. Your lawyer can find out exactly who owns your family’s assets and who you want to inherit them in the future. Then you can set up an estate plan to accomplish those goals in a tax-efficient way.
In addition, you may need documents such as trusts, powers of attorney, and wills to help you pass on your assets. Make sure you work with an attorney who has experience with international estate planning issues. There are many legal nuances to estate planning when not everyone lives in the United States or is a citizen, and you need a lawyer familiar with those nuances.
Planning your estate? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.