cuenca ecuador

Avoid Unpleasant Surprises With Inheritance Laws Abroad

Plus: Sorry… Ecuador Is Now Full

June 2, 2015
Medellín, Colombia

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

Back in 2005, my friend Della was living the dream in Ecuador, with Alan, her husband of 31 years. By 2008, she was unexpectedly sharing ownership of her dream home with three adult stepchildren.

And it happened for an all-to-common reason: They didn’t understand Ecuador’s inheritance laws.

In most of the United States and Canada, citizens enjoy a great deal of flexibility when it comes to estate planning. With a valid will, you can leave your property to pretty much anyone you like.

In most cases, it’s normal to leave your home to your spouse, a practice we North Americans assume to be our inalienable right.

But that’s not how it works in much of the world. Many countries require that you leave your property—or your portion of a jointly owned property—to your children or your parents rather than your spouse. The concept of joint tenancy with right of survivorship is not widely recognized.

And, what’s more, usually you cannot override these inheritance laws with a will.

This practice is based on old European laws designed to keep family estates in the family to prevent a single landowner from breaking up an estate that had been in the family for many generations. It’s based on the premise that descendants have an inherent right to the family estate. Continue reading

Four investment options in this expanding market

US$1=1,904 Colombian pesos

Dear Overseas Property Alert reader,

Capital gains of 10%…rental income of another 6%…and developer co-investment returns of up to 22% annually. These are the numbers that caught my attention for this property in Bogota.

Let me give you the details.

Colombia is the third largest economy in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. It’s one of the few countries in the world that sustained positive economic growth during the Great Recession, with a forecast GDP growth of 5% this year—better than the United States, UK, Europe, Mexico, or Brazil. Inflation is at a record-setting low: just 2.19% for 2013.

Significantly, Colombia has a rapidly expanding middle class—probably the most important macro element of any market you’re considering investing in. The number of people in Colombia’s middle class jumped 56.1% between 2002 and 2012, and is forecast to rise another 83% during the next 11 years, through 2025.

So Colombia offers the investor a growing economy with an expanding middle class.

Bogota is the growth engine of Colombia
Bogota alone contributes a huge 24.5% of Colombia’s total GDP, yet still maintained its own GDP growth rate of 4.1%.

International attention continues to focus on Bogota. In fact, the number of multinational corporations in Bogota went from 492 to 1,423 in the 10 years through 2012. That’s a 289% increase.
Continue reading

Why we hate gated communities…or do we?

March 25, 2014
Medellín, Colombia

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

“No gringo communities for me… I’m going to be part of the local culture.”

“I’m not the gated community type of person…”

Every year, I speak with hundreds of potential expats at events, and I get thousands of emails from people considering moving abroad. Most say that they would never consider living in a gated community overseas…especially an expat-oriented one.

Their arguments are good ones…and almost always the same. Because when we consider moving abroad, much of the appeal has nothing to do with practical issues…the allure of overseas living has more to do with adventure, excitement, and a rich cultural experience.

And the best way to get that experience is to be part of the local culture…not part of a North American enclave.

So the vast majority of potential expats—probably over 90%—say the same thing: they would not consider a planned community favored by North Americans. Continue reading