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U.S.-Canadian Tax and Estate Planning for Dual Residents

Reconciling U.S. and Canadian Law on Trusts, Deemed Dispositions on Death, Situs Wills, and Wealth Transfers

Recording of a 90-minute CLE/CPE video webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE/CPE course will provide estate planners with a comprehensive guide to estate planning tax challenges and opportunities for clients who have a tax presence in both the United States and Canada. The panel will discuss the U.S. tax law and treaty provisions that govern tax and fiduciary rules in both Canada and the United States. The webinar will focus on the U.S. tax and other consequences for Canadian clients with a U.S. tax presence and U.S. taxpayers with Canadian-based pensions and other assets as well as the basics of cross-border estate law.


The long Canada-U.S. border and extensive ties between the two countries provide a significant amount of economic migration for citizens of both countries. Many U.S. citizens and permanent residents have property interests in Canada and vice-versa. Estate planning counsel and advisers must be able to identify the tax and wealth transfer planning rules and opportunities specific to U.S. and Canadian citizens with assets and presence in both countries.

The differences between U.S. and Canadian estate and wealth transfer rules present several challenges. Canada does not impose an estate tax. However, Canadian law provides for a "deemed disposition" of all capital assets on the death of a taxpayer. This disposition triggers a tax on all unrecognized gains and losses of Canadian-sourced assets.

While the U.S.-Canada tax treaty allows for reciprocal credits for U.S. estate tax and Canadian taxes, estate planners must reconcile the differences between the two countries' tax regimes and proactively minimize the tax impact of wealth transfers.

To make matters more complex, each province and state has its own set of estate and incapacity rules. The interaction of each set of rules needs to be navigated to ensure that the client’s succession plans are respected.

Listen as our expert panel provides guidance on how to plan the estates of clients with U.S. and Canadian tax presence, including interests in business entities, real estate, and financial accounts. The panel will cover the legal and tax considerations when planning for the disposition of each type of asset.



  1. Planning a cross-border estate from an estate law perspective
  2. U.S. estate tax regime
  3. Canadian "deemed disposition" rules
  4. Tax treaty credit provisions
  5. U.S. and Canadian tax treatment of trusts
  6. Filing and reporting deadlines and timelines to consider


The panel will review these and other essential issues:

  • When is it appropriate for clients to have separate estate plan documents specific to the U.S. and Canada?
  • How does the "deemed disposition" rule work to create a recognition event upon death or transfer of assets deemed to be Canadian-sourced?
  • What are the tax treaty provisions to ameliorate dual taxation issues in estates and post-mortem tax events?
  • How to avoid inadvertent gift tax triggering events on spousal transfers
  • Options for transferring estate assets outside of an estate in Canada


Merritt, Susan
Susan J. Merritt

Senior Vice President and Chief Fiduciary Officer, Wealth Management
Northern Trust

Ms. Merritt is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Orange County region’s fiduciary practice including...  |  Read More

Reed, Max
Max Reed, LLB, BCL

Polaris Tax Counsel

As a cross-border tax lawyer, Mr. Reed assists clients with tax problems that span the US/Canada border with a...  |  Read More

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Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. CPE credit is not available on recordings. All formats include course handouts.

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