For the large number of U.S. citizens living abroad, there is a significant concern about the transfer of wealth and proper succession planning to minimize or reduce the estate tax liability upon the death of that U.S. citizen. As a trusts and estates attorney of Indian origin practicing in Princeton, it is only natural that a portion of my clientele is Asian Indians. This article focuses on the approximately 700,000 or so U.S. citizens living in India. Many of these individuals or couples have either amassed significant wealth of their own or could stand to inherit assets from their parents and/or grandparents adding to their overall net worth. Proper planning for these estates becomes critically important for such individuals and their families so that they do not run afoul of their annual reporting and compliance obligations. Moreover, succession planning strategies implemented to reduce or minimize their estate tax obligations should be carefully structured so as to not trigger adverse tax consequences down the road.
Introduction to U.S. Estate/Gift Tax Structure