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Canadian-US Estate Planning & Real Estate Trusts / International Estate Planning / International Probates


Sanger & Manes provides world class counsel to foreign nationals who own vacation homes, investments or other assets in the United States, on the complexities of US and California tax and estate planning. 
While Canada and a few European countries have US tax treaties favorable to noncitizens in reducing US estate and income taxes, most nations do not.  As a result, the differences in US tax outcomes among citizens of those countries who own US assets can be dramatic, especially if they do not have a tax or estate plan in place that takes into account how US tax law treats their particular country.  The impact is all the more acute if they come from a nation with community property rules, and they own assets in California, a community property state.  Only a firm with sophisticated knowledge of all the major tax treaties, US tax law, and California community property rules, can assist foreign nationals with US assets to avoid the pitfalls of international tax and estate planning. 
Sanger & Manes has that expertise.  We provide world class services in preparing estate plans, including asset transfers to trusts or other entities, for investors from Brazil, India, the Isle of Man, and other nations which do not have favorable US tax treaties.  We have the experience necessary to achieve the goal of reducing estate tax and income tax liability, and the exposure to an audit. 
Our clientele includes noncitizen entrepreneurs, retirees, professional artists and global citizens able to live and work anywhere, who need tax and estate planning of the highest caliber for their US assets, particularly their real estate holdings. 


Many Canadians buy real property in the US, particularly the Palm Springs area, either as a vacation home or for investment.  In many cases, it makes sense to hold the real property in a revocable trust.  With over a decade of experience handling Canadian estate planning for US assets, Sanger and Manes is a national leader in establishing US real estate trusts for that purpose.
For Canadians, the benefits of holding real property in a simple revocable trust are significant.  A revocable trust can avoid a costly and time-consuming probate in the US when the owner dies.  It allows Canadians to easily change beneficiaries or successor trustees with a brief trust amendment, rather than having to redraft and resign a Will in Canada.  Post-death administration of the real estate, whether paying bills or filing property tax exemptions, is usually made easier.  And perhaps most important, under most circumstances, and if properly drafted, a Canadian-US real estate trust can eliminate or at least delay, the payment of US estate taxes by taking the benefits provided under the Canada-US Tax Treaty.
Revocable trusts are not appropriate for every Canadian owning real property in the US.  Thoughtful, sophisticated estate planning is often needed to negotiate the complexities of the two countries’ tax systems and determine the best way for Canadians to hold US real property.  Sanger & Manes has a world class expertise in the US-Canada Tax Treaty and the depth of experience to provide Canadians the cross-border estate planning they need in this complex area of the law. 

Whether it involves drafting a US real estate trust, preparing powers of attorney for US use, or providing sophisticated estate and tax planning for US assets, Sanger & Manes is the foremost law firm in assisting Canadians with their cross-border estate planning.


Sanger & Manes is a premier practitioner in the area of international probates, the court proceeding often required to transfer real property in California after the death of the owner who is not an American citizen.
Many Canadians and other foreign nationals own real property in California, particularly in the Palm Springs area. When the owner dies, a probate in California may be necessary to transfer the property to the intended beneficiaries, even if a probate takes place in the decedent's country of origin.
These international probates require special knowledge about California's probate system and the tax treaties governing how US estate taxes apply to real property owned by non-citizens.  Sanger & Manes is highly experienced in this area, with a particular emphasis in Canadian/California probates.  We assist foreign executors through the probate process, from filing the probate to the transfer of the property at closing, in compliance with state law and US tax treaties, including obtaining any property tax (Proposition 13) exemptions, and correcting any title problems.  Not all transfers of real property at death for noncitizens require a probate and Sanger & Manes has the expertise needed to identify how to identify when those nonprobate transfers apply, and to get them done.
In international probates and real estate transfers, Sanger & Manes has a proven record of success getting the real property of foreign nationals transferred to their intended beneficiaries or business entities as quickly as possible while optimizing their tax savings under applicable tax treaties.