Location Independent (Nomad) Will

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Json
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Location Independent (Nomad) Will

Post by Json » Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:41 pm

I'm trying to find information on how to best create a living will when I plan to be location independent. Pretty much everything I've found is information specific to a state. I'm 55 years currently in TX and plan to retire overseas in about a year. Once retired, I only plan to return to the US only for short periods to visit family and friends.

At the moment I don't have a living will or any other will for that matter (I know, it's overdue).

I plan on living and moving frequently, changing places anywhere from 90 days to 2 years, depending on how easy/complicated it would be to get residence permits. Some of the initial countries I plan to live in are Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Argentina, Chile, etc. (in no particular order).

My question is specifically about how to go about creating a living will for this particular situation. I realize some folks might agree or disagree with my plan of living overseas if possible i would like to keep this topic on living wills for nomads.

Thanks for any insights!
Last edited by Json on Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Steelersfan
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Steelersfan » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:34 pm

It seems difficult to impossible since country, state and local laws apply at the time it's needed

Will the person(s) who will make decisions on your behalf be the same person(s) where ever you are?

littlebird
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by littlebird » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:43 pm

Will there be someone with you in these countries to work with your medical providers ? For example, to bring the document to the hospital if you become seriously ill? These documents are not really self actualizing, even in the U.S., where hospitals are required to ask about the existence of “living wills” and have become accustomed to working within their parameters. Do you know whether all of the countries you are interested in have laws in place that even recognize “living wills”?

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Steelersfan
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Steelersfan » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:51 pm

Another thought;

What about the next document, the will that disposes of your assets should you die in that foreign country? County laws are probably an even bigger factor there. How are you dealing with that?

tibbitts
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by tibbitts » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:59 pm

Json wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:41 pm
I'm trying to find information on how to best create a living will when I plan to be location independent. Pretty much everything I've found is information specific to a state. I'm 55 years currently in TX and plan to retire overseas in about a year. Once retired, I only plan to return to the US only for short periods to visit family and friends.

At the moment I don't have a living will or any other will for that matter (I know, it's overdue).

I plan on living and moving frequently, changing places anywhere from 90 days to 2 years, depending on how easy/complicated it would be to get residence permits. Some of the initial countries I plan to live in are Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Argentina, Chile, etc. (in no particular order).

My question is specifically about how to go about creating a living will for this particular situation. I realize some folks might agree or disagree with my plan of living overseas if possible i would like to keep this topic on living wills for nomads.

Thanks for any insights!
Maybe like full-time RVers, you'll subscribe to a service that gives you an address and can be used for domicile - for them, typically TX or SD the last time I looked a few years ago. Maybe there is the equivalent in the international environment. On the other hand, the objective is to travel enough such that you avoid becoming a resident anywhere other than your domicile of choice. Actually changing residences that often would seem to be a nightmare.

Carefreeap
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Carefreeap » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:44 pm

Json wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:41 pm
I'm trying to find information on how to best create a living will when I plan to be location independent. Pretty much everything I've found is information specific to a state. I'm 55 years currently in TX and plan to retire overseas in about a year. Once retired, I only plan to return to the US only for short periods to visit family and friends.

At the moment I don't have a living will or any other will for that matter (I know, it's overdue).

I plan on living and moving frequently, changing places anywhere from 90 days to 2 years, depending on how easy/complicated it would be to get residence permits. Some of the initial countries I plan to live in are Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Argentina, Chile, etc. (in no particular order).

My question is specifically about how to go about creating a living will for this particular situation. I realize some folks might agree or disagree with my plan of living overseas if possible i would like to keep this topic on living wills for nomads.

Thanks for any insights!
Could you explain what you mean by "Living Will"? It can mean different things to different people.

If you are talking about asset distribution then understand that in the EU (but not England) there is a formula. You might find this article from the Economist helpful:
https://www.economist.com/europe/2009/1 ... d=14644403

If you have assets in the US my attorney has advised us that if a will or Trust is prepared in one state, other states generally respect that agreement.

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Steelersfan
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Steelersfan » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:02 pm

I suspect he's talking about an Advance Medical Directive but it's worth clarifying.

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Pajamas
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Pajamas » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:42 pm

Most states will allow advance directives from other states to be honored. (A living will is a type of advance directive.) I have no idea about other countries but surely many of them would do the same to the extent possible under the law, if your health care providers were aware of them.

Json
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Json » Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:54 pm

These are very good points. I can see how having an advance medical directive might be very difficult if not impossible considering the differences in laws in each of those countries.

With that on mind I would like to recast the question into how to best do asset distribution. Even when I don't plan to return to the US in at least 10 to 15 years I can still have a 'base' by using for example the address of a family member in TX.

Pretty much all my assets will be US based with the exception of whatever I'm withdrawing for my expenses. Would it be more appropriate to create a will or trust as if I'm based in TX and if something happens while I'm overseas treat it like I was on temporary travel? I'm not sure how that would work considering I'll be filing my Fed taxes from whatever country I happen to be that year.

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Steelersfan
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Steelersfan » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:14 pm

I believe as long as you maintain a U.S. domicile (an address and financial assets tied to that address in the U.S should help) your U.S. based will should be mostly valid.

But your foreign assets, large or small as they may be, could be an issue. You really need to talk to an attorney who's versed in these matters.

Disclosure - I'm not an attorney and have zero experience this area.

BTW - I suspect the number of ex-pats who die overseas are far greater than the number who need to avail themselves of a living will, so that's where your focus should be.
Last edited by Steelersfan on Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Katietsu
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Katietsu » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:15 pm

Json wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:54 pm
These are very good points. I can see how having an advance medical directive might be very difficult if not impossible considering the differences in laws in each of those countries.

With that on mind I would like to recast the question into how to best do asset distribution. Even when I don't plan to return to the US in at least 10 to 15 years I can still have a 'base' by using for example the address of a family member in TX.

Pretty much all my assets will be US based with the exception of whatever I'm withdrawing for my expenses. Would it be more appropriate to create a will or trust as if I'm based in TX and if something happens while I'm overseas treat it like I was on temporary travel? I'm not sure how that would work considering I'll be filing my Fed taxes from whatever country I happen to be that year.
There are a several different things that are getting mixed up here. The applicability of a living will or advanced medical directive is probably going to be related to where you physically are located. That said, in the US anyway, doctors pretty much take direction from whoever they can if that person has a legitimate relationship and if there is no sign of conflict or complexities. I would not be surprised to find the same occurs in other countries.

The distribution of assets is not usually related to where you die but where you are domiciled. Simply put, your domicile is your home—the country and/or state you consider your permanent place of residence. If you aren’t living there right now, then it’s the place to which you intend to return and make your home indefinitely. You can have more than one residence, but only one domicile. Legally, you will have a domicile even if you are living a nomadic lifestyle. It may even be worth consulting a lawyer to find out the best way to establish a domicile in a favorable location before you start your journey.

Carefreeap
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Carefreeap » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:10 am

Katietsu wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:15 pm
Json wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:54 pm
These are very good points. I can see how having an advance medical directive might be very difficult if not impossible considering the differences in laws in each of those countries.

With that on mind I would like to recast the question into how to best do asset distribution. Even when I don't plan to return to the US in at least 10 to 15 years I can still have a 'base' by using for example the address of a family member in TX.

Pretty much all my assets will be US based with the exception of whatever I'm withdrawing for my expenses. Would it be more appropriate to create a will or trust as if I'm based in TX and if something happens while I'm overseas treat it like I was on temporary travel? I'm not sure how that would work considering I'll be filing my Fed taxes from whatever country I happen to be that year.
There are a several different things that are getting mixed up here. The applicability of a living will or advanced medical directive is probably going to be related to where you physically are located. That said, in the US anyway, doctors pretty much take direction from whoever they can if that person has a legitimate relationship and if there is no sign of conflict or complexities. I would not be surprised to find the same occurs in other countries.

The distribution of assets is not usually related to where you die but where you are domiciled. Simply put, your domicile is your home—the country and/or state you consider your permanent place of residence. If you aren’t living there right now, then it’s the place to which you intend to return and make your home indefinitely. You can have more than one residence, but only one domicile. Legally, you will have a domicile even if you are living a nomadic lifestyle. It may even be worth consulting a lawyer to find out the best way to establish a domicile in a favorable location before you start your journey.
+1

I like this answer. The "domicile" is important and determines who gets to tax you. Based on our experience living in Germany for three years who gets to tax you is determined by your citizenry, residency, and source of income. Many countries have tax treaties which exempt certain income from the US (Germany exempts income from privately held real estate) but tax on worldwide income.

Another issue you might have is if you choose to establish residency overseas many US institutions will not allow you to have a managed investment account because they don't have license to sell securities overseas. That includes something as mundane as reinvesting dividends. We were unaware of the situation and had to scramble when BofA (Now Merrill Lynch) sent us a letter that we had 30 days to move our investments or they would sell everything and send a cashier's check to our last know US address.

Understand that while interesting, your nomadic life will also highly complicate your financial one. Plan accordingly.

Json
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Json » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:21 pm

Carefreeap, how did BofA realize that you were in Germany? Did you change your account address to Germany or did they detected a connection into your accounts from overseas?

I plan on retaining the TX domicile while traveling. I have family members there which will take care of things if something comes up. All my accounts will have the TX address, in addition I plan on using VPN with the location set to central zone when accessing my accounts.

I'm somewhat lucky that TX is one of the 'best' places in the US to be a nomad. Here's some interesting information about it: http://twomeander.com/how-to-establish- ... s-a-nomad/.
As described in the article 'intent' is also a key factor on establishing a domicile. My intent is to return to TX and make it my permanent home after a number of years traveling.

After reading the posts here I'm inclined to think that creating a Will in TX might be the way to go. Which means in a general sense that those seeking to become a nomad for a number of years should have a Will in the state they intend to make their domicile upon return.

Ben10
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Will

Post by Ben10 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:01 pm

(1) create a revocable trust which names beneficiaries upon your death;
(2) fund the trust by titling your assets to the trust;
(3) make a last will and testament that “pours over” any estate assets to your trust.

A good estate planning lawyer can advise and assist with the foregoing.

Carefreeap
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Living Will

Post by Carefreeap » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:30 pm

Json wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:21 pm
Carefreeap, how did BofA realize that you were in Germany? Did you change your account address to Germany or did they detected a connection into your accounts from overseas?
No we didn't change our address. We were living in AZ in an area that was considered "rural", didn't have home delivery and kept our P.O. Box. I had a friend visit the P.O. once a week and go through our mail.

BofA, like a lot of financial institutions has a computer program designed to flag certain words in company e-mails. If those words come up they are flagged and sent to management to review. We think an e-mail was flagged between my husband and our BofA Wealth Manager (WM). He was very frustrated with her because on multiple times she promised to have our annual assessment done. He finally wrote something about how we were promised our assessment before we moved to Germany and now it's been five months and we're still waiting. If she couldn't get it together we were going to move our account to another bank. Her manager got involved and that's when we got the letter. The WM claimed she warned us but she lied to cover herself. I think she eventually left the bank due to personal issues going on in her life. I'm sure we weren't the only customers unhappy with her.

I have heard other stories on this forum about investment accounts being flagged with foreign IP addresses but I have no personal experience with that. We wound up moving all of our investment accounts to USAA but left five bank accounts with BofA. We had five rental properties at the time and wanted our tenants to have the ability to pay their rent to a brick and mortar bank.

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Hyperborea
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Will

Post by Hyperborea » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:39 pm

Json wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:41 pm
I plan on living and moving frequently, changing places anywhere from 90 days to 2 years, depending on how easy/complicated it would be to get residence permits. Some of the initial countries I plan to live in are Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Argentina, Chile, etc. (in no particular order).
Json wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:21 pm
I plan on retaining the TX domicile while traveling. I have family members there which will take care of things if something comes up. All my accounts will have the TX address, in addition I plan on using VPN with the location set to central zone when accessing my accounts.
Those seem to be contradictory objectives. If you spend the majority of a year/more than half a year (lots of details depending on the country) in one country then you might be considered a resident/domiciled there especially if on more than a 90 day tourist status. That might apply not just for taxes on local income but on worldwide income, estates, etc. You can't avoid those legally just by keeping a mailbox in Texas.
"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Json
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Will

Post by Json » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:45 pm

Ben10 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:01 pm
(1) create a revocable trust which names beneficiaries upon your death;
(2) fund the trust by titling your assets to the trust;
(3) make a last will and testament that “pours over” any estate assets to your trust.

A good estate planning lawyer can advise and assist with the foregoing.
Thanks, will certainly look into this.

Json
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Will

Post by Json » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:46 pm

Thanks again for all the feedback. I'm actually not that concerned about the concept of the domicile. I plan to approach it in a similar way to the one used by someone in the military serving overseas, for foreign service, or an international NGO. See http://www.afsa.org/residence-and-domicile for some related information.

I'm not planning to work overseas nor generate income so that will simplify taxes. I initially was equating residency and domicile, now I'm getting a better understanding that residency is just a component to domicile. The other key component is intent. I don't intend to live permanently or indefinitely in any country overseas. My intent is to return to the US eventually.

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Hyperborea
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Will

Post by Hyperborea » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:32 pm

Json wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:46 pm
Thanks again for all the feedback. I'm actually not that concerned about the concept of the domicile. I plan to approach it in a similar way to the one used by someone in the military serving overseas, for foreign service, or an international NGO. See http://www.afsa.org/residence-and-domicile for some related information.

I'm not planning to work overseas nor generate income so that will simplify taxes. I initially was equating residency and domicile, now I'm getting a better understanding that residency is just a component to domicile. The other key component is intent. I don't intend to live permanently or indefinitely in any country overseas. My intent is to return to the US eventually.
The site that you reference above is referring to determination of state residency or domicile. Any of the countries that you listed will not care about your US state of domicile or if you keep a mailbox in Texas. They will apply their own laws and require you to pay taxes if you fall into their residency requirements. It would be a good idea to make sure that you know the basics of the tax laws of any country that you stay in particularly the determination of residency. You will also potentially owe taxes to the US after you pay taxes to those other countries.

As for military personnel, they don't have to pay foreign taxes because of agreements between governments - see Status of Forces Agreements. There are no retired nomad agreements between governments. Now, some countries do have some special exemptions for retirees but not most of those countries that you listed.

Just to take one of your listed countries, Germany, if you stay more than 6 months then you will become a tax resident.

https://home.kpmg.com/xx/en/home/insigh ... rders.html
A person’s liability to German individual income tax is determined by residence status. A person can be a resident or a non-resident for German tax purposes. A resident of Germany generally refers to an individual who has a domicile in Germany or spends more than 6 consecutive months in Germany (habitual place of abode). A domicile is a home or dwelling owned by, or rented to, the taxpayer who has full control over the property. Domicile is determined by fact, not by the intention of the taxpayer.

A non-resident of Germany is generally someone who spends less than 6 consecutive months in Germany. The general rule is that a person who is a resident of Germany is assessable on the individual’s worldwide income. Non-residents are generally assessable on income derived from German sources. Extended business travelers are likely to be considered non-residents of Germany for tax purposes, unless they stay in Germany for more than 6 months in a row (brief interruptions such as home trips over the weekend or vacations are disregarded).
"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

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BolderBoy
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Will

Post by BolderBoy » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:58 pm

Since you are talking about hard assets I think the most effective and domicile independent way to do this is to make everything either beneficiary on death, transfer on death and/or payable on death.

Pretty easy to do with all your financial assets. If you have real property and live in a participant state, a transfer on death deed will take care of that. Some states even allow TOD of motor vehicles (basically anything with a 'deed').

If you can do that with all your assets then a Will becomes largely superfluous.

IANAL, but have set up my estate this way. Did my mom's estate likewise, some years before she died.
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Json
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Re: Location Independent (Nomad) Will

Post by Json » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:42 pm

Thanks again to everyone for your input and advice. There are many good suggestions I'll be looking into in more detail.

My primary concern with this post was regarding Wills but I can see how taxes will become something to important which could vary significantly from location to location.

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