The Upward Trend of the U.S. Housing Market: Follow-Up to the 2015 Florida Real Estate Market Report

Blog by Shlomi Steve Levy

2015 Florida Real Estate Market Report Predictions

Our firm published the 2015 Florida Real Estate Market Report at the beginning of March. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. economy and housing market for Canadians interested in cross border real estate investment, with a particular focus on Florida, tracing U.S. housing market conditions from the crash in 2007 up to March 2015. The report also makes several predictions about how the U.S. housing market will unfold throughout 2015. Three of the report’s key forecasts are:

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Limited Liability Limited Partnerships and the Perils of Cross Border Tax

Blog by Jason S. Ansel

The Canadian dollar might not be as strong as it once was, but that still hasn’t stopped many Canadians from investing in the US real estate market. Each day we meet with new clients who are looking to the US to develop a portfolio of residential rental properties in order to generate a secondary, or in some cases, primary source of income. These clients are also purchasing commercial properties such as strip malls and office buildings and each and every time they ask the same question, “how should I hold title?” The answer to this question is not generically the same across the board.
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Cross Border Estate Planning: Gifting to US Resident Children

Blog by Heela Donsky

Canadian parents are no strangers to losing their kids to the US – some may leave Canada to study in the US never to return, while others are recruited by US companies and sponsored by them for immigration purposes.

Once becoming a US person, the child becomes subject to the dreaded US gift and estate tax regime. Click here for a review of these rules. While this may not have an immediate impact on a child whose assets are below the exemption amount of $5.34 million USD, the child may be impacted downstream once he or she has amassed some personal wealth and/or received an inheritance from mom/dad’s Canadian estate. Read the rest of this entry »

Considering a Condo? A Checklist for Canadians Investing in US Real Estate

Blog by Shlomi Steve Levy
Last fall, I wrote about the benefits of buying property in the US sunbelt, particularly in Florida, which is currently experiencing a post-recession renaissance. Now, as the state’s economy continues to recover, more and more visitors are heading to the Sunshine State: 2014 saw a record number of 97.3 million visitors, up 3.9 percent from 2013. Canadians comprised 3.8 million of these visitors, also a record high, up 2.4 percent from the number of Canadians who visited Florida in 2013.
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2015 Florida Real Estate Market Report


The Florida real estate market was deeply shaken when the U.S. housing bubble burst eight years ago. Today, recovery is evident across the state. This is welcome news for Canadian snowbirds looking to invest in Florida property either for personal use or investment purposes. Below, a historical overview of the Florida real estate market, predictions for the U.S. economy in 2015 and forecasts for five Florida real estate markets popular with snowbirds are presented. First, a look at the report’s highlights.

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Equality for Same Sex Couples in the United States and the Impact on Canadians

Blog by Jason S. Ansel

The start of 2015 came with some very exciting news for our neighbours down in the sunshine state. Florida has officially become the 36th State to recognize and allow same sex couples to marry.

This new development became official less than one week into 2015 when a federal judge’s stay on a ruling overturning the state’s ban on marriage equality expired.

This expiration deadline was being closely watched and as a result many marriage certificates were being handed out in counties around the State in advance of the official deadline. Read the rest of this entry »

The Henson Trust in Quebec


Version française aussi disponible.

Earlier this year the Quebec superior court rendered a judgment in the case of Québec (Curateur public) c. A.N. (Succession de), 2014 QCCS 616 (CanLII) where the court clarified the nature of a beneficiary’s right in a testamentary discretionary trust.

In this case, the beneficiary of the testamentary discretionary trust had a serious mental health condition similar to autism, which made him entirely dependent on his mother until her death. The beneficiary’s condition and inability to provide for his own needs made him eligible to receive financial and social assistance payments from the ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale (the “Department”). Read the rest of this entry »

The Benefits of Buying in the Sunbelt

Blog by Shlomi Steve Levy

With winter just around the corner, many Canadians are dreaming about escaping to the U.S. sunbelt.

Luckily, according to BMO Bank of Montreal’s Annual Snowbird Outlook, U.S. vacation homes in popular snowbird destinations like Florida remain affordable compared to the housing prices we saw in 2006.

At the same time, as noted in a recent Financial Post article, snowbirds face a tough rental market. While the American economy has been recovering, many Americans have been renting homes instead of buying them. As a result, rental prices across the U.S. are increasing while the number of rental properties available for Canadian snowbirds is decreasing. Read the rest of this entry »

Tax Issues for American Corporations: Corporate Inversions

Blog by Shlomi Steve Levy

I recently discussed the choice being made by some U.S. citizens living abroad to renounce their U.S. citizenship in order to avoid being subject to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

But there is another kind of renunciation that has also become increasingly popular of late: corporate inversions. When a U.S. company buys a company in another, more tax-advantageous country and then designates the foreign jurisdiction of the newly merged company as the legal home of the multinational corporation, the U.S. company has effectively renounced its U.S. citizenship. Read the rest of this entry »

The Benefits of Owning a U.S. Property in a Trust

Blog by Bonnie L. Altro

Holding property titled in personal names is the most common, simplest and least expensive way to go about owning US real estate. Be forewarned, however, that the issues that can arise in such an ownership structure are important ones and the consequences of not planning appropriately can be costly.

Avoiding Probate and Bypassing Guardianship Procedures

Probate is the legal procedure required to transfer legal title to children or beneficiaries upon your death. As per Florida statutes, for example, probate may cost up to approximately 3% of the value of the Florida estate upon the date of death. If a Florida property costs $200,000 USD to purchase, probate fees and expenses translate into approximately $6,000 USD. Of course, it is highly likely that the value of the property will have greatly appreciated at the time of death and that probate expenses would be significantly higher. Read the rest of this entry »