Foreign Powers of Attorney & Cross-Border Estate Planning

March 23, 2017
foreign power of attorney8i

written on behalf of Feigenbaum Law

If you travel back and forth between Canada and the United States, or have any cross-border property, you should ensure that your estate planning and other documents will be valid in both countries to any extent necessary. You may also want to consider whether any powers of attorney in your home province or state may be impacted, and speak to a cross-border lawyer for specialized advice.

Powers of attorney and jurisdiction

A power of attorney can be invaluable in protecting your estate and other assets in the event of a serious injury or incapacity. In Ontario, competent adults may appoint a power of attorney to make healthcare decisions and to manage personal property on their behalf. For most individuals, the estate planning process usually includes naming powers of attorney.

Although all Canadian and US jurisdictions have a recognized form of creating a power of attorney in that location, there is no guarantee that its terms would be considered valid if it was to be enforced in another place. This means, for example, that your power of attorney for property in Ontario may not be considered valid to manage your property in a US state.

Issues recognizing foreign powers of attorney

It is sometimes possible to have a foreign power of attorney or other legal document recognized as valid by another jurisdiction. However, these mechanisms can often be complex and time consuming; the simplest and least expensive option is to have the necessary documents reviewed by a local lawyer.

Cross-border estate planning lawyers

Having a lawyer with experience in both Canadian and US estate planning is key. Subsequent powers of attorney must be carefully drafted to ensure that they do not impact the effect of other, pre-existing documents.

Feigenbaum Tax Law provides a suite of tax and estate planning services to individuals with cross-border assets, and can advise frequent travelers about residency and tax implications. We regularly work with US-based tax and estate specialists to assist clients with cross-border planning concerns.

Contact us online, or toll free at (877) 275-4792.

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