Joint or separate IB accounts for NRA couple?

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Joint or separate IB accounts for NRA couple?

Post by mexpat » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:32 pm

We are a Danish couple resident in Mexico that have worked internationally for 20+ years and have kept our savings in a joint US brokerage account investing in US ETFs. Among others from the discussions on this forum I am now aware that we have a considerable Estate tax risk with this setup. A much better solution would be to move to Interactive Brokers and buy non-US ETFs. According to Galeano this feels like Boogleheads heaven, so I am now trying to prepare for that before one of actually pass away.

When trying to understand the Estate tax issue I also came across advice against having joint accounts for NRA as these might be frozen and the surviving spouse cannot access the funds while the estate is being resolved.

What IB account would you recommend for a married couple:

1. A joint account owned by two people
2. Two individual accounts
3. A Family account with two individual accounts
4. Some other option that I have not even thought about.

The accounts would hold Irish ETFs bought on LSE, total investment over 1 million USD. We are tax residents in Mexico which has a double tax agreement, but no estate tax agreement with the US.

Any advice or suggestions are much appreciated

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