Inheriting from relatives in Germany
My parents live in Germany, and they plan on leaving me both cash and (jointly with my siblings) the apartment they own. They have asked me whether I would prefer to have some of the cash now, i.e. as a gift. Some additional relevant background: I am a permanent resident here. I may eventually become a US citizen (and keep my German citizenship), but that won't happen for at least a couple of years.
I have tried and failed to understand the tax implications of the question of gift vs. inheritance, and the citizenship bit. It seems that different states in the US have different rules, and so do different countries (unsurprisingly). I would like to talk to someone knowledgeable specifically in U.S., California, and German tax law. I have asked around a bit, but people keep recommending their financial advisers and tax lawyers who are no doubt brilliant, but have no specific experience with Germany. I also asked friends in Germany and kept getting referred to people who don't know the U.S. end of things.
I would be very grateful for recommendations for professionals to consult about this (tax lawyers or financial advisers, for example). If you are (or have been) in the same boat as me, I would also be interested in hearing about how you are handling this, if you are willing to share your experiences.
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Generally, both gift and estate taxes apply to gifts or estates from U.S. citizens or permanent residents (whether they live in the U.S. or abroad), because it is the giver who is taxed. (Citizens and permanent residents are equal in the eyes of the IRS.) Assuming your parents are neither, you are dealing with German law around this, not U.S. law. (If your parents are also U.S. citizens or green card holders, then those gifts are subject to U.S. taxes, but the U.S. also has a gift/estate tax treaty with Germany, so you'd need to review that to determine how you would be taxed.) I would be surprised if California taxes something like this that is exempt from federal taxation, but honestly have no clue on that, so that would be a question for a CPA or tax attorney.
This is very random, but it might help. I'm an Italian to English translator and knowing what I do about my profession, I'm sure that a German to English translator specializing in financial matters would be able to point you in the right direction. They likely know a few lawyers/international tax specialists that they work with that deal with these types of things on a daily basis. You can find someone on the American Translators Association website - atanet.org. Filter your search in the translator directory for German to English translators specializing in finance and law. Hope that helps!