Many entrepreneurs and freelancers have the flexibility and freedom to live and work outside of their home country. Often remote workers do not need to live near their employer and can live out of state – or even out of the country. As the number of remote workers has increased significantly in 2020 and continues into 2021, more people are discovering the digital nomad lifestyle: the ability to work from wherever there is good wifi, and to live in another country or state for a short period of time, to roam from place to place, or to permanently relocate. Most digital nomads are aware of income tax issues if they are living and working outside of the country. But what happens if a remote worker living outside of the United States becomes seriously ill or incapacitated – or even dies? Will their healthcare wishes be followed? Who will inherit their assets? Is their estate liable for taxes in the country they die in?
Expats living in another country for years or even permanently will follow the laws of the country of residence. But if you are an American whose primary legal residence is still the United States, but you spend the majority of your time traveling, living and working in other countries, an experienced estate planning attorney can help protect your unique needs and situation.
Estate planning documents signed in one state or country may not be recognized in another country or state. For example, the state of Illinois requires the signature of 2 witnesses to execute a valid will. If your state of residence only requires one signature, but you spend the majority of your time in Illinois and die in Illinois, it will complicate things when it comes time to settle your estate. Most states do recognize another state’s properly executed estate plan, but it may complicate settling your estate.
2. Healthcare Proxy
What if you become seriously ill while you are out of the country? Who has the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf?
Unfortunately, the global pandemic has given digital nomads an increased awareness of the importance of executing an advanced healthcare directive or power of attorney in case you become seriously ill. Digital nomads have to ensure that their healthcare directions will be followed if they are away from their primary place of residence. If you are seriously ill and require medical care, you don’t want to delay your treatment – or have measures taken that you do not want – because your healthcare directive was executed in another state or in another country.
To make sure you are protected when you are living outside of the United States for extended periods of time, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard, Illinois today at 630-864-5835.