What are the Best Tips for Offshore Asset Protection?

J. Summers

Offshore asset protection involves the complex legalities set up to deal with the protection of assets of individuals and businesses from civil money judgments. These laws are in place to exempt certain assets and retirement plans from creditors. Although the laws governing offshore asset protection vary from place to place, they are structured to include limit exemptions that protect equity in a personal or principal place of residence and personal retirement plans. Owners of a corporation, limited partnership or limited liability company and beneficiaries of a trust are protected to some degree from the liabilities of the entity. The best tips for offshore asset protection include assuring that everything is done properly and legally.

Man holding a globe
Man holding a globe

In order to set up an offshore asset protection plan, specific professional expertise and knowledge is required to traverse the complex legal requirements. Offshore asset protection planning requires understanding the comparative laws of both onshore and offshore jurisdictions. Assessing the facts, individual circumstances and the principal objectives are vital in structuring the best offshore asset protection plan. With the beginning of the marketing of offshore asset protection trusts in the late 1980s, the practice soon rose to prominence. A self-settled trust is when the offshore trust includes the creator of the trust among the potential beneficiaries with the assets of the trust not subject to the creditors of the creator.

Attorneys who create trusts, corporations, limited partnerships or limited liability companies are acting in their clients’ best interests when they incorporate asset protection planning. There are ethical dilemmas raised when the asset protection planning might be seen as assisting a fraudulent or tax avoidance action. In determining the ethical and legal implications, the timing and intended purpose of the offshore asset protection strategy is taken into account for discretionary judgment.

If the intention is seen to be a direct attempt to avoid mandatory taxation, divorce responsibilities or bankruptcy claims on the beneficiary, offshore asset protection trusts may be examined and limited in their effects by the legal system. In an attempt to curb money laundering activities and tax evasion, the law stipulates that offshore asset protection trusts be subject to complete disclosure of the amount of money and time of transference. Structured correctly and carried out within the legal and government requirements, offshore asset protection can be a highly effective method for individual and businesses to legitimately and safely protect their assets and themselves from litigation.

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