Multijurisdictional and Cross-Border Estate Planning

International Estate Planning Legal Advice for Property in Multiple Jurisdictions

Many Canadian residents own assets and property across international borders and situated in multiple jurisdictions, creating unique challenges during the estate planning process. Each jurisdiction has its own distinct rules relating to a variety of planning matters, such as powers of attorney, succession of assets, as well as taxation. When a person with assets in multiple jurisdictions becomes incapable, someone must have the proper authority to deal with his or her assets on behalf of the incapable person. When a person dies, the estate must be administered and the assets distributed according to the relevant countries' laws and regulations in conjunction with the will of the deceased. If appropriate incapacity, will and estate planning has not been put in place prior to a person's incapacity or death, significant taxes, time delays and inefficiencies can be the result, and his or her estate plan may even not be able to be effected in some cases.

To preserve the value of your estate, protect loved ones, and ensure that your wishes are fulfilled, it is critical to work with an estate planning lawyer who understands the nuances and potential issues at play when a person's estate plan has international aspects, and who is experienced in creating strategies and solutions to protect your estate and carry out your plan.

At the Toronto, Ontario, law firm of O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers LLP, we can assist you in providing cross-border and multijurisdictional estate planning advice.

At O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers LLP, we have experience in assisting clients with highly intricate cross-border estate planning. We take a five-step approach in evaluating each client's estate planning situation:

  • Review and evaluate our client's net worth and related entities, including an assessment of assets and liabilities to accurately determine the nature and extent of all ownership interests
  • Determine the location of all property interests in all jurisdictions and review relevant documents, accounts, trust agreements, life insurance policies, business records, beneficiary designations and more
  • Review and evaluate the current estate planning structure
  • Review and evaluate all contractual and other obligations that may affect the estate or may create obligations on death, including buy-sell agreements, separation agreements, cohabitation agreements, marriage contracts, court orders, potential dependants' claims and potential forced heirship claims
  • Review the clients' and beneficiaries' backgrounds, habitual residences, citizenships and domiciles

Firm founder and managing partner  Margaret O'Sullivan is a leading Toronto estate planning lawyer, practicing estate planning and probate law exclusively since 1983. She is the author of the Canada Chapter in International Succession Laws (Tottel 2009) and co-author of the Canada Chapter in The Private Wealth & Private Client Review (Law Business Research 2015). She has spoken and written extensively on multijurisdictional succession issues, multijurisdictional will and incapacity planning, and chaired the Ontario Bar Association committees on the Hague International Conventions on Trusts and on Succession.

Also engaged in trust and estate work at O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers LLP is partner  Susannah Roth.

Ms. Roth has practiced trust and estate law since being called to the bar in 2002, has spoken and written on various subject areas in trust and estate law, and is a past chair of the Ontario Bar Association Trusts and Estates Executive Committee and a past member of the Council of the Ontario Bar Association.

Protect Your Assets in Both Canada and Abroad

At O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers LLP, we have experience working with clients on complex multijurisdictional estate plans. Our lawyers can assist by identifying estate planning issues, which may arise when one has multijurisdictional assets and connections such as legal requirements and tax considerations that may arise across borders (both between the United States and Canada as well as globally), and by working with professionals in other jurisdictions to create coordinated and effective estate plans.

Protect your estate, your international assets and your loved ones and intended beneficiaries: if you have assets in other countries or connections to other countries including beneficiaries, whether by residence, nationality, domicile or a combination of these, and are seeking to prepare for the future, we have the experience and abilities you need to put an appropriate estate plan in place. Please contact our Toronto, Ontario, law office to learn more about our services.

Our lawyers will review and consider where your assets are located. We will also consider the residency, citizenship and domicile status of you, your spouse, your children and other potential beneficiaries to determine what, if any, international factors may come into play upon incapacity or upon death in the administration of your estate and succession of your assets. We will liaise with professionals in the appropriate jurisdictions to assist in putting a well thought-out and integrated plan in place.

For qualified and experienced legal help in a boutique, client-focused setting, contact the Ontario cross-border estate planning lawyers of O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers LLP.