Parents Ask About Legal Issues for Daughter Working Outside U.S.

Dear Mr. Premack: Our daughter has just graduated from college and has taken a job overseas. She will be gone for at least two years. We were trying to help her set things up so both she and we can still access her brokerage account, but the broker told us that they are not willing to maintain an account for her while she lives outside the US. Is there a legal way to set up her account the way that we want? What about her taxes? Does she pay US taxes on her foreign income? – C.P.

When someone leaves the U.S. for work purposes, they are still a U.S. citizen and still a legal resident of the state in which they lived before relocating. Regardless, some financial institutions are nervous about allowing account access to someone outside the U.S. The Patriot Act does not expressly bar them from maintaining those accounts, but the banks and brokerages are wary.

One very useful solution is for your daughter to create a revocable grantor trust. She will be both the grantor of the trust (who owns it and controls its purpose) and the beneficiary of the trust. But she can name you as the trustee, so that all management issues while she is abroad can be legally handled by you. As trustee, the brokerage treats you as though you are the account holder and uses your local mailing address.

The revocable trust should allay any concerns the brokerage or bank has about the account. They are not concerned about and do not have any liability to the beneficiary; they deal only with the trustee. All the statements they mail can go to the trustee, so they are dealing with a local address. You as trustee can then carry out any instructions given to you by your daughter – making withd