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My mother is an American citizen living in California - she has had dementia for many years and is legally incompetent to manage her money, but before she was ruled incompetent she put me on as a trustee on a trust that holds basically everything she owns (she's living in a rental care home, so she pretty much has no possessions outside of that trust) including mostly mutual funds, with some bonds and some cash.

I have dual American and Canadian citizenship - I have lived in Canada for over 40 years, but I travel down regularly to take care of my mother's affairs.

She's nearing her time, and I'm trying to sort everything out before-hand since I know I won't be up to much when the time comes. Now, as I understand it, being co-trustee circumvents capital gains tax with a non-liable step-up, so if I were to liquidate the American financial assets she holds in short order then there would be negligible CGT due since it would be calculated from market price at the time of her passing, rather than her purchase price.

It's the next step I'm stumped at, however; I have no interest in hanging onto an American account full of American currency. Investment options in Canada are Much better, and I would like to buy Canadian bonds, and my daughters are also Canadian and I want to see to them - but how difficult will it be to bring approx. $4,550,000 across the border?

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    What's the problem with bringing the money across the border? Have they ever heard of wire transfers there in Canada? – littleadv Nov 25 '13 at 9:56
  • Can you clarify the exact question? From the wording, you know how to liquidate the US holding and convert them into cash. You have figured out the tax implication in US & Canada. Are you just interested in how to move money from US to Canada? – Dheer Nov 25 '13 at 12:08
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    Welcome. I understand this is a difficult topic in general. To expand on your question a bit, do you want a step by step to transfer money, or are you asking if their is something particular about transferring money as a part of closing out an estate? Are you concerned about the amount of money? – MrChrister Nov 25 '13 at 14:58
  • I would certainly hope to make the transfer by wire - the prospect of popping cross the border with several million dollars in the trunk seems... ill fated. I suppose I'm asking what sort of taxes, duties, fees, limits, &c. would apply - google has been less than forthcoming, I'm afraid. I've come across oblique references to banks themselves imposing limits and/or fees (although nothing usefully specific), and even vaguer references to reporting and tax-forms, but the IRS and RC websites are miserable to comb through and I've yet to strike coherent gold. – Confuseded Nov 25 '13 at 16:01
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I would certainly hope to make the transfer by wire - the prospect of popping cross the border with several million dollars in the trunk seems... ill fated. I suppose I'm asking what sort of taxes, duties, fees, limits, &c. would apply

Taxes - None. It is your money, and you can transfer it as you wish. You pay taxes on the income, not on the fact of having money.

Reporting - yes, there's going to be reporting. You'll report the origin of the money, and whether all the applicable taxes have been paid. This is for the government to avoid money laundering. But you're going to pay all the taxes, so for transfer - you'll just need to report (and maybe, for such an amount, actually show the tax returns to the bank).

Fees - shop around. Fees differ, like any other product/service costs on the marketplace.

  • There will be annual FBAR reporting requirements going forward... – DJohnM Nov 25 '13 at 22:30
  • @User58220 I trust that if the OP lives in Canada for the last 40 years - the FBAR reporting requirement is not new to him. – littleadv Nov 26 '13 at 2:07

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