www.thestar.com that talks about the new arrangement whereby Canada will report Canadian bank accounts held by American citizens to the I.R.S. Click here to read this article for more detailed information about what will be reported, and what will not.
What does this have to do with estate planning, you ask? Quite a bit. American citizens who live anywhere in the world are supposed to file American income tax returns every year. However, I have met dozens of Americans living in Canada who don't file those returns, on the basis that they live exclusively in Canada, pay taxes in Canada, don't have any taxes to pay in the US, and don't see the need to file the American returns.
Logic aside, the I.R.S. wants those filed. If you pass away without having filed them, your executor is required by law to file them. All of them. This means that if you have lived in Canada for 20 years without filing the American returns, your executor will have to file them for the last 20 years. This means a lot more work for your executor and additional expense and delay for your estate. If your executor decides not to comply, that could mean personal liability for him or her.
If you are in this situation, I suggest that you talk to your accountant. Find out exactly what you have to file, and what the repercussions might be for you or your estate if you do not.