International Estate Planning in Orlando
Assisting the Orlando Immigrant Population with Estate Planning
The Department of Homeland Security's
2012 Yearbook of Immigrant Statistics reports that 1,031,631 immigrants obtained green cards and became lawful
permanent residents in the U.S., and 103,047 of those immigrants settled
in Florida. As large as these numbers are, they are even more impressive
when taken in tandem with the 757,434 immigrants who became naturalized
citizens in 2012, and of those naturalization proceedings, 100,890 occurred
in Florida. Given that so many people in Florida either are immigrants
or have loved ones who were born abroad, it is important to account for
the impact of immigration legal issues when engaging in
estate planning. At Jackson Law, we are uniquely qualified to assist you with developing
an estate plan that addresses such unique legal issues, and we are ready
to take immediate action on your case.
Foreign Wills Must Be Executed Under Florida Estate Planning Law
Many U.S. investors today are foreign nationals who make the mistaken assumption
that because they have a will or a trust in their own country, their assets
in this country will automatically transfer to their beneficiaries upon
their death. Estate planning instruments executed under the laws of a
foreign country are not necessarily effective in the probate courts of
Orlando and the rest of the United States. If you expect your will or
trust to come into effect upon your death, it must be drafted in a way
that complies with the requirements of Florida estate planning laws. In
addition to having a legally valid will, trust or other estate planning
strategies in place, it is also important to take into account the special
rules that apply to the taxation of inheritance for members of the immigrant
One example of the different tax laws for foreign-born individuals in the
United States has to do with the estate tax. While Florida does not impose
its own inheritance tax, Orlando residents may still be required to pay
an estate tax to the Internal Revenue Service. For U.S. citizens, the
estate tax exclusion is $5,250,000, meaning that the tax does not apply
to cases where the estate is valued at less than this amount. For a non-U.S.
citizen resident or foreign national, however, the exclusion is far lower,
only $60,000. Consequently, the estate may be taxed at a rate of 40 percent or more.
Qualified Domestic Trust (QDOT)
There are many strategies that an Orlando estate planning attorney from
our firm may be able to use to minimize your tax liability in light of
your status as a non-resident alien or lawful permanent resident. One
of these is the qualified domestic trust (QDOT). The issue that the QDOT
is utilized to address has to do with the marital estate tax deduction.
Under federal law, a spouse can inherit from a deceased husband or wife
an unlimited amount without any tax liability, but this is only possible
if the surviving spouse is a U.S. citizen. If he or she is a lawful permanent
resident or holds a non-immigrant visa, different rules apply.
By establishing a QDOT, it is possible for the inheriting spouse to postpone
payment of the estate tax until the time he or she passes away. Depending
on the circumstances, taking this measure could provide the immigrant
spouse with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more, in
an inheritance, rather than having to see a large percentage of the estate
absorbed by federal taxes.
To learn more about this and other estate planning strategies that we can
use for you,
contact us now for an initial consultation.