International Estate Planning


The world we live in is increasingly becoming globalized, which can be seen in the high number of families in who have ties to one or more countries outside the United States.

International families have special estate planning needs in order to help them fulfill the goal of protecting their assets and providing for their heirs. International families include families in which one or both spouses are a resident or nonresident alien, as well as families in which one or both spouses have dual citizenship.

Here are a few examples of the estate planning issues that might affect an international family:

  • Non-citizens have different estate tax and gift tax laws than citizens of the US.
  • People who own property abroad may be taxed twice, once in the US and once in the country of origin.
  • Conflicts in inheritance laws might slow the process of transferring assets to heirs.
  • Parents who wish to appoint an international guardian for their children may have trouble getting the US government to agree to the decision if the paperwork is not prepared properly.
  • If you are a US citizen, but wish to leave assets to a friend or family member who is not a citizen, care must be taken to avoid having the gift reduced by excess taxes.

California's estate planning laws are significantly different from many countries in terms of how community property is distributed, the validity of trusts, and guardianships for minor children. To protect yourself, you must seek the assistance of an estate planning attorney who is familiar with California's laws as well as the laws of you or your spouse's country of origin and/or the country in which you have property or international business interests.

How Can We Help?

If you are i n need of legal representation relating to an estate planning issue, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our family practice attorneys are happy to meet with you to discuss your concerns and develop a customized estate plan that will best meet your needs.