Does My Client Need Separate Wills for Property in India and the U.S.?

 In Non-US Citizens, Property in Other Countries
will for property in India

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel on Unsplash


My client is an Indian citizen and has already executed a will in India. While in India, she accumulated stock in the United States. Her Indian will has her dad, mom, and daughter as her beneficiaries (for everything). She recently relocated to the United States. Her U.S. assets comprise some stock (in the United States but accumulated while working and residing in India), another brokerage account, and some bank accounts (all together worth around $900,000).

She wants to create an estate plan here in the United States and leave all her U.S.-based assets to her daughter.. My understanding was that the will in India will control the India assets (house, bank accounts, etc.), and the U.S. estate plan will control the disposition of her assets in the United States. What would be the best thing to do? If she creates a new estate plan in the United States, how would it reconcile with the estate plan back in India? Will the latest estate plan control? Will the India will control India assets, and U.S. will control U.S. assets?


As with other questions I receive regarding non-U.S. estate planning and tax issues, I have consulted with Rita Ryan at Wolf and Company, P.C. Here’s here response:

international tax

Rita Ryan

The idea is that the estate plans work in conjunction with one another – each should mention the other and state something along the lines of “this estate plan controls the assets in country x while the estate plan created on b date controls the assets in country y.”

There are also tax issues to consider. If your client becomes a domiciliary in the United States, she’ll be taxed on world-wide assets, including those in India, as of her date of death for estate tax purposes, but this is unlikely to be of concern given the current exemption of approximately $13 million. Be aware that there is no treaty current with India on estate taxes. To the best of my knowledge India does not have an estate or inheritance tax. However, if your client’s daughter who will receive her U.S.-based assets does not live in the United States, she will be subject to non-resident withholding for U.S. source income.

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