Wealth Advisor

Cross-Border Trusts

A Guide to Cross-Border Trust Design and Administration

by Suzanne L. Shier, Wealth Planning Practice Executive and Chief Tax Strategist/Tax Counsel

Download Cross Border Trust [PDF]

Mobility is a fact of modern life, and it is increasingly common for families to own assets or have family members living in other countries. These cross-border circumstances give rise to a range of U.S. income, gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax consequences, particularly when trusts are involved. One area of particular complexity is the U.S. taxation of trusts, grantors and beneficiaries with cross-border contacts. Additionally, there is an ever-increasing level of tax information reporting required in this environment of financial and tax transparency.

As one of the leading personal trust companies in the United States, with a strong and growing international presence, Northern Trust is committed to meeting the needs of our clients, no matter where they are in the world. Our paper, A Guide to Cross-Border Trust Design and Administration, offers a high-level overview of certain aspects of the taxation of cross-border trusts from the U.S. perspective, as well as some tips for planning such as:

  • An overview of modern cross-border mobility
  • A discussion related to the impact of U.S. income taxation for U.S. residents, domiciliaries and non-residents
    and/or non-domiciliaries
  • How the U.S. estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax system operates including the role of situs,
    deductions and credits, qualified domestic trusts and joint tenancy interests
  • An examination of the definition for U.S. expatriates with associated income and/or transfer tax implications
  • Considerations for U.S. compliance considerations related to withholding, distributions, and various forms
    and legislation
  • New updates on OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS)

As the global population continues to expand, with increasing investments and domiciles all over the world, so too does the wealth and tax planning landscape grow more complex. Factoring in opportunities, limitations and reporting requirements into discussions about trust design and administration can help you preserve your wealth and mitigate penalties and tax burden.

To learn more about Cross-Border Trust Design and Administration, read the paper now or call Suzanne Shier, Wealth Planning Practice Executive and Chief Tax Strategist/Tax Counsel at 312-557-8396.

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Northern Trust Corporation or its subsidiaries. The information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Any opinions expressed herein are subject to change at any time without notice. Any person relying upon this information shall be solely responsible for the consequences of such reliance.
IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To the extent that this communication or any attachment concerns tax matters, it is not intended to be used, and cannot be used by a taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. For more information about this notice, see https://www.northerntrust.com/circular230.


Suzanne L. Shier
Suzanne L. Shier
Wealth Planning Practice Executive & Chief Tax Strategist/Tax Counsel
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