Wine Country has its beauty, including the many people who flock here to live. It is becoming more common for non-citizens to take up abodes here. This goes back to the founding of Sonoma heavily influenced by international residents. For those interested in a delightful historic recap consider viewing the documentary the Call of the Valley.
The question arises, how does living in the US impact the ability and strategies with estate planning? This is not an easy answer. Often factors relating to citizenship goals can drive a response. These couple with the laws of the citizenship country. For a brief overview of thoughts on that see our blog, The International Side of Estate Planning.
Generally speaking, citizenship plays into estate and gift tax rules among other things. Residence is important. For non-residents, estate tax is levied on US-situated property as well as gift tax, among other things.
It is important to consider the familial objectives when looking at these issues. For example, families wanting to keep property for generations may consider during-life gifts; whereas those looking to liquidate after death may prefer to transfer the property post-mortem to allow heirs the step-up basis shift to minimize capital gains tax. Thus, often objectives drive the desired strategy.