If you are a United States permanent resident, then you should keep in mind a few key considerations about your estate planning. Permanent residents have many of the same rights as U.S. citizens, and estate planning is no exception. They may have some different estate planning concerns, though, especially when it comes to connections to other countries.
What Is a Permanent Resident?
A permanent resident of the United States has been granted the right to live here indefinitely. Permanent residents receive “green cards” (not actually green colored) to signify their immigration status.
For estate planning and taxation purposes, permanent residents are treated very similarly to U.S. citizens. In contrast, people in the United States on visas, who are seeking asylum, or who are refugees often have very different estate planning and tax laws that apply to them.
Estate Planning as a Permanent Resident of the United States
Permanent residents usually plan to stay in the United States for a long time. They may, however, still have connections to other countries that affect their estate planning. For example, some permanent residents:
- Own property in another country
- Send money to relatives living abroad
- Have a non-citizen or non-resident spouse
- Have non-citizen or non-resident children
- Run businesses or work across an international border
All of these common situations can give rise to a need for estate planning in the United States, and perhaps in another country too. For example, having a non-citizen, non-resident spouse can give rise to significant taxes and other difficulties if advance planning is not done. The estate and gift tax exemption as well as other inheritance rules are not the same if your spouse is not a citizen or permanent resident.
Further, the U.S. government is very strict on rules for maintaining your permanent residency. If you have any plans to leave the country for more than a short time, you may need to speak to lawyers about your rights – not only for immigration purposes, but for estate planning as well.
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.