A savvy way to use life insurance if you are a foreign national

“The best investment on earth is earth.” — Louis Glickman

Carlo (not his real name) is an Italian living in Rome. He believed in Real Estate as the best investment. So, he bought a few properties in Los Angeles, California on his own name. Sadly, he had an untimely death after a few years and his family inherited the properties in America. Besides the grief, they had to deal with the tax liabilities of the inheritance, which was a substantial amount.

A foreign national or non-US resident with Real Estate properties in the U.S. has tax liabilities. Very often their families are surprised, after their death, to learn that estate taxes are payable on these properties.

The tax laws with respect to estate taxation for U.S. citizens and residents are very different for the non-US residents.

For US citizens and residents, the estate tax exemption is $11.58 million for single people and $23.16 million for married couples, but many of the tax changes will expire at the end of 2025. As a result, the federal estate tax exclusion amount will be reduced back to $5 million for single people and $10 million for couples after 2025.

This is valid for US citizens and residents.

The estate tax exemption for foreign nationals or non-US residents is only $60,000.

For example, Guillermo, an Argentinian resident, owns a home in Miami worth $1,000,000. When he passes away, his family can deduct from the estate taxes only $60,000 from the property value.. Then they will have to pay estate taxes on the remaining property value of $940,000, that is about 30% of that number!

In this case, Guillermo came to me to ask me how he could protect his family in case he died. Together with his tax specialist we designed a life insurance policy. His children will use the death benefit to cover those estate taxes. And there would be no need to sell the property to pay for the taxes.

If you are a foreign national and own a property in the US, speak to a tax attorney or accountant for advice on your particular situation. After consulting with these professionals, contact an independent life insurance agent to find the best life insurance solution for your needs.

To learn more savvy ways to use life insurance, call me. Let’s talk!

Susana Zinn is an Independent Life Insurance Agent based in Los Angeles, California.