You’re immigrating to the United States, and with that comes a whole new set of laws and cultural norms to discover and learn. One of the things you realize is that coming to a new country has its risks. You don’t want to leave your children without the information and support they need if anything were to happen to you.
That’s why estate planning can be a boon for immigrants to the United States. Estate planning is a good idea before receiving permanent resident status, because there are techniques you can use to protect your assets held in another country. You may be able to move your assets in such a way that they are not subject to the gift taxes or estate taxes that you might otherwise face.
Pre-immigration planning is when you should consider estate planning as well. When you look for an attorney to help you, you’ll want to talk to someone who has both immigration experience as well as estate planning experience. They will be in a unique position to support you as you decide how to transfer your assets into trusts or accounts that are best protected by your new U.S. estate plan.
When you come to the U.S., your estate plan will matter
Having an estate plan is going to be essential if you have children. Your estate plan absolutely should address guardianship. If you do not address guardianship and your children do not have permanent resident status, there could be issues if you suddenly pass away. It’s always a smart idea to assign guardians who are in the United States if you want your children to remain within the country. Additionally, assigning a guardian can prevent your children from entering the foster care system.
Your estate planning documents can also include trust funds, which pass on assets to your children and beneficiaries following your death. This helps your estate avoid probate, which can be long and drawn out. It can be tedious and upsetting for people who are mourning their loss, as well.
Estate planning might not be at the top of your list of things to do while you’re working on obtaining permanent resident status or making a life in the U.S., but it is something that will protect you and the people you love should anything happen to you. Your attorney can help you set up a basic estate plan that protects your assets and gives you the protections you need.