Florida Estate Planning and Probate Law Blog focused on recent case law and planning ideas.


It is no surprise that foreign residents do not have the same estate or gift tax exemptions as a U.S. resident.  In 2015, a U.S. resident may gift, during his or her lifetime, or bequeath upon death as much as $5.43 million. In contrast, a foreign national has an estate tax exemption of only $60,000. As a result, a foreign national who owns a $2 million house in the U.S. can expect their heirs to pay some $740,000 in estate taxes upon their death. 

On the gift tax front, foreign nationals should take advantage of their annual gift tax exemptions of $14,000. However, unlike U.S. residents, they are limited to $147,000 in gifts to their spouses before triggering estate and gift taxes. To avoid these tax issues, many counsel their clients to establish off-shore entities to own the U.S. assets.

It is important to note that Canadian citizens benefit from a treaty with the U.S. that allows them the same exemptions as U.S. citizens.