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Moving Overseas? Plan Ahead.

The Wall Street Journal recently provided some guidance for Americans relocating overseas in “Moving Abroad? Here’s the Checklist.”

Insurance. These regulations are frequently at the country or state level, so insurance that is valid or that can be sold in one jurisdiction may often not be sold or used in another. If you are a resident of two countries, and each has mandatory health insurance, it may be difficult to locate a provider whose insurance is accepted (for medical and tax purposes) in more than one country. Long-term care and disability policies are often not valid or have reduced benefits outside of the country where they’re purchased. Life insurance, if issued some time ago, can usually be kept when you move overseas—but you may see some currency risk and financial regulations for policies with a cash or investment account associated with them. Auto insurance isn’t typically portable.

Investment Planning. These regulations vary by country, so be certain to work with people who understand your situation and are competent to provide cross-border services. U.S. expats should know that most foreign investments may be subject to punitive U.S. taxation and costly compliance. Investing in U.S. exchange traded funds or individual stocks is usually a better option, with U.S. mutual fund investments generally off-limits to investors living outside the U.S.

Estate Planning. These laws are different from one jurisdiction to the next. With an international move, your estate planning may no longer be valid, so talk with an experienced international estate-planning attorney.

Government Benefits. You should learn in advance if health coverage like Medicare, unemployment insurance, welfare, and other government benefits will be available when you move overseas. If you’re being asked to move for your employment, check your employment agreement to see what types of government benefits you will be eligible for if you are terminated from the position while overseas. If you’re planning to retire abroad, you won’t be able to use Medicare—you’ll need to make alternative health care arrangements. Find out if you can have your Social Security benefits paid to you while living abroad.

ReferenceWall Street Journal (September 29, 2016) “Moving Abroad? Here’s the Checklist”

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