Expat mail forwarding mechanics

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randomizer
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Expat mail forwarding mechanics

Post by randomizer » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:48 am

I'm planning on moving permanently from the US to Europe. I want to set up mail forwarding because it will take me possibly 6-8 months after my move date to shut down all my accounts, transfer my assets, file my last tax return etc and I'd hate to lose any important mail during that time (even though I have most things set to send via email or web).

Is the idea that you contract a mail forwarding service and then update all your account addresses to send there? Or do you keep your account addresses the same and then tell the USPS to forward to the forwarding service?

Basing this question on what I've read here, but isn't entirely clear to me.
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halfnine
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Re: Expat mail forwarding mechanics

Post by halfnine » Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:08 pm

Depending on the state you currently reside in, it might be beneficial to relocate your state domicile and US accounts to a no income tax state prior to leaving the country. Most of the mail forwarding services are located in no income tax states for this very purpose.

You may very well want to keep a US address for much longer then the next 6-8 months. If you have accounts that can not easily be transferred abroad (retirement accounts, etc.) life is much easier if you have a US address for your accounts. My mail forwarding service has its own unique address instead of a PO Box which can raise red flags with some companies.

Now, if either of the above are true, then have your mail sent to your new mail forwarding address. At that point, depending on the service you've signed up for, you might have your mail scanned or packed up and shipped as you schedule.

One of the best online write-ups I've seen is a post at Technomadia. The blog post likely is more than you need as they continue to live a nomadic life in the USA and have a few more issues to resolve then you will.

Diogenes
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Re: Expat mail forwarding mechanics

Post by Diogenes » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:15 pm

There is really no need to actually have a service that physically forwards the mail. These days the scan to email services work well. I’ve been using TravelingMailbox for some time and am pleased with the service. Even on occasion when I have received an unexpected check in the mail, with their great app I merely have them scan the check. I take a photo of the scan on my iPad and directly deposit it to my bank. If you want them to physically forward something to you, they will, at a reasonable price.
Works great. Just set it up before you leave as their paperwork may require a notarized signature.
In your case, it would be easiest to go on the Postal Service website and forward your mail to the mailbox service. They will only do that for a year I think. Since they only forward first class mail, you have no worries about all the junk following you. You can then selectively change the address for those important senders.

TravelGeek
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Re: Expat mail forwarding mechanics

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:29 am

randomizer wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:48 am
Is the idea that you contract a mail forwarding service and then update all your account addresses to send there? Or do you keep your account addresses the same and then tell the USPS to forward to the forwarding service?
How about both?

I have never used one of those services, but it seems to me not any different than if you physically moved within the US. When I moved, I changed my address with all companies I cared about. I also set up mail forwarding with the USPS to my new address, to catch anyone’s letters that I had forgotten about. There were a few.

You might also want to port your phone number to something like Google Voice when you leave.

gd
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Re: Expat mail forwarding mechanics

Post by gd » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:57 am

I lived overseas for a few years pre-public-internet, and used a Mailboxes Etc store selected to be near a helpful relative to receive mail, which relative would collect, filter, and forward to me every week or two. It was also a useful way to preserve a US address; I officially lived in a "suite" that was really, really small. Worked fine, but a few weeks after my return the franchise closed without notice-- guy who ran it just locked the door and walked away. MBE main office was obviously accommodating; another MBE outlet took my mail while I resettled. They have, for the record, turned into UPS Stores. Point is, recommend belt and suspenders whatever you do. Expect the unexpected.

Diogenes
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Re: Expat mail forwarding mechanics

Post by Diogenes » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:50 am

gd wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:57 am
I lived overseas for a few years pre-public-internet, and used a Mailboxes Etc store selected to be near a helpful relative to receive mail, which relative would collect, filter, and forward to me every week or two. It was also a useful way to preserve a US address; I officially lived in a "suite" that was really, really small. Worked fine, but a few weeks after my return the franchise closed without notice-- guy who ran it just locked the door and walked away. MBE main office was obviously accommodating; another MBE outlet took my mail while I resettled. They have, for the record, turned into UPS Stores. Point is, recommend belt and suspenders whatever you do. Expect the unexpected.
These days, none of this is needed any longer. There are several good solutions and good apps to facilitate it.
Coupled with a Google Voice number I haven’t had any issues in the past 10 years overseas.

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randomizer
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Re: Expat mail forwarding mechanics

Post by randomizer » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:05 pm

Thanks for the input, folks. I'm going to try out a forwarding service for a few months (pre-move) just to see how it works. I'll report back later once I've actually used it in case anybody finds that useful.
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random_walker_77
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Re: Expat mail forwarding mechanics

Post by random_walker_77 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:09 pm

FYI, the RV crowd care a lot about mail forwarding. You might want to poke around there for reviews.
https://www.google.com/amp/www.doityour ... tions/amp/

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