Three Reasons International Families Should Consider Qualified Domestic Trusts

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What kind estate planning is advisable for individuals with a non US citizen spouse? In most cases, a decedent’s estate may be transferred to a US citizen spouse without any estate tax, thanks to a high exclusion amount for US citizen and permanent resident decedents in 2009 and an unlimited marital deduction. When a decedent’s spouse is a not a US citizen, however, the estate cannot claim the marital deduction—regardless of the citizenship of the decedent. That’s not a problem if a decedent’s estate is smaller than the applicable exclusion amount, or if the surviving spouse becomes a US citizen prior to filing an estate tax return. But what if you are a non resident alien and have an applicable exclusion amount of only $60,000? Or, what if your spouse doesn’t acquire citizenship in time? In this article, California estate planning attorney John C. Martin discuss three reasons why individuals with a non US citizen spouse should consider estate planning with QDOTs, and how to avoid several pitfalls.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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