Smooth Sailing: How to Manage Your Family’s Wealth across the Canada-U.S. Border

Love knows no borders, and many Canadians follow their hearts to the U.S. where they tie the knot and even take the U.S. citizenship along the way. After all, both countries share more than just a border.

But when couples grapple with declining health, some decide to move back home where they have family nearby. Moving to Canada from the U.S. can create several challenges, including tax, legal and investment-related considerations.

Sally and Fred faced quite a few.

They had been together for many years, a second marriage for both. Sally was a Canadian citizen, and Fred a U.S. citizen. Sally moved to the U.S. to be with Fred and, along the way, took U.S. citizenship.

They planned to live out their retirement years in the U.S. But when health issues arose, they decided to move back to Canada to be close to their immediate family. Sadly, Fred developed dementia. He was the patriarch of the family and could no longer manage his financial affairs. His wife Sally was never involved in the finances, and she asked her adult children to take on that role.

A new Canadian will was drafted, and power of attorney documents were put in place. Fred and Sally had amassed a fair amount of wealth, the majority of which was in the U.S. in retirement accounts and investments. The adult children found the tax filings a burden and hired a professional cross-border tax advisory firm to manage the Canadian and U.S. filings. The tax advisory firm suggested it may be a good idea to work with a dual licensed cross-border financial advisor to manage the IRA as the U.S. broker could not manage a non-resident IRA.

That’s where we stepped in.

The Solution

Licensed in both Canada and the U.S. through Raymond James (USA) Ltd., we opened an IRA and transferred the assets from the U.S. broker dealer to our management.

We were able to help Fred’s family create a disciplined investment strategy with his IRA and provide a steady income stream to help cover mounting medical expenses.

When Fred died, a requirement from the IRS came to the forefront – a transfer certificate was required in order to transfer the assets to Sally. We worked with the family’s legal team to provide guidance from our firm and introduced a U.S. estate attorney to help get this matter resolved in a timely fashion.

If you’re considering moving back to Canada from the U.S., reach out to us so we can develop a solid financial plan and strategy that enable you to meet your goals.