Can anyone in the US create a living trust? Is this technique only available for US citizens and US permanent residents?
Anyone can create a living trust (also called loving trust, revocable living trust, inter-vivos revocable trust, etc.). There is no requirement for citizenship. If a nonresident (lives permanently outside the US) alien (noncitizen) created a revocable trust, they would have to have a connection (nexus) to the US to avail themselves of US law if they wanted to create a living trust under US law. So for example, if the nonresident alien named a bank in Delaware or Alaska as a co-trustee of the living trust, and made a deposit in that institution, they might have created sufficient nexus to do so. However, before a nonresident alien creates a living trust, especially if it is to be funded with US assets, they should consider creating an irrevocable trust in a state like Delaware, Alaska, etc. that permits perpetual trusts, won't tax trust earnings, etc. This may provide a mechanism to avoid US estate and gift tax, state income tax, etc. Also, when a nonresident alien is undertaking any planning like this they should carefully review any treaties between the country in which they are a citizen and the US as this might affect planning. The US, for example, even has gift and estate tax treaties with a number of countries. You'll need not only a US attorney that understand trusts, but international tax expertise, and possibly other experts, to do this type of planning correctly.
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