You are not a United States Citizen
You probably thought that because you are in the United States, abiding by all of our rules, blissfully married to your U.S. citizen spouse that all of your spouse’s assets will transfer to you seamlessly upon your spouse’s death. I need to pull your head out of the clouds just for a teeny, tiny moment: If you are not a U.S. citizen, there may be significant tax implications for you and your spouse’s estate! To give you an example, U.S. citizens are subject to federal estate tax on all property owned at death. For married couples, the federal estate tax only comes into play on the second to die (this is the “marital deduction” you may have heard about). Therefore, upon your death, all of the property transferred to your U.S. citizen spouse is free of the federal estate tax. BUT, if your U.S. citizen spouse dies first, you, a non-citizen, may not be able to claim the marital deduction.
If this sounds unfair, take solace in knowing that intentional estate planning may help minimize this and other potential tax implications. Contact our office at (248) 477-6300 to see how an estate plan can help you!