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Factors like resident status could impact estate planning

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2016 | Estate Planning |

Ohio residents may need to take special steps to ensure that their beneficiaries receive properties like homes if these individuals haven’t applied for permanent residency. Experts say that although undocumented immigrants can inherit properties and own homes, the legal system and modern economic realities favor those who actually hold proper citizenship or some other formalized immigration status.

In one 2014 case, a woman died after being married to an undocumented immigrant for more than three decades. Her husband had never applied for a Green Card, and she did not leave a will specifying how the 30-acre plot that they lived on together ought to be disposed of.

Although legal advisers admit that he might have been able to inherit the home using information like an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number in lieu of a Social Security number, the husband feared that he might be deported if he attempted to take ownership of the property. Experts say that in such situations, it may be best to seek legal assistance and pursue permanent residency before attempting to inherit property. Creditors and survivors like parents may also be able to open probate proceedings to claim unwilled real estate in these kinds of circumstances.

Those who want their loved ones to be well off after they die need to engage in proactive estate planning. The unique nature of their survivors’ living situations has a significant impact on the viability and advisability of different estate options, so it’s important to choose appropriate forms of property holding vehicles and management arrangements, such as trusts and wills. Obligations like taxes or end-of-life care can also bite into estates and reduce how much beneficiaries actually inherit. Discussing estate planning with an attorney might make it easier to anticipate these factors.