Legal & Financial Planning Concerns For Gay Couples Living, Investing, Or Retiring Overseas

“Kathleen, we finished your 52 Days course and feel much more prepared for the new life my partner and I are planning. But we still have a big question we really didn’t expect answered in the course, but now we hope you might have some insight.

“We are a lesbian couple of long standing. We have decided to make this move as we have decided the United States is not the same country of our youth, as I’m sure you have had many people tell you. Like our ancestors, it is time to migrate to a different country where we believe we can live our retirement as free individuals.

“The questions you did not address in the lessons of your course all relate to our relationship. We do not live in a state that recognizes same sex marriage, but do live where domestic partnership is recognized.

“In the United States, we have several legal documents that we have done in hopes they will help protect each of us. These are durable power of attorney for financial and health, trusts and wills for each naming the other as beneficiary, and all bank accounts and real estate holdings are in both names as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.

“Can you tell me if you have any experience with how this relationship can be set up in other countries? Will they allow joint tenants on bank accounts? What about real estate, renting, and so on? Will we have to set up new living trusts and/or wills?

“Our biggest concern is that our co-owned assets are not lost to the surviving partner if and when the inevitable happens.”

–Odie N., United States

You should consult with a local attorney wherever you decide to move. However, the U.S. structures you have set up should continue to serve their original purposes.

Foreign bank accounts can be set up as joint tenants, and foreign real estate can be purchased jointly…or you could put any real estate an entity that is owned by the living trusts.

The complicated part is residency, as each of you will have to qualify separately for whatever residency permits you apply for. You won’t be able to quality with a primary with a dependent, as a married couple can do.

Finally, very important, you will want to create a local will for any assets located in the country where you move.

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