Offshore Trust - Effective Estate Planning, You Decide

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 27th, 2010

Copyright 2006 Ronald Hudkins

The creation of offshore trusts and other financial plans is a way of shielding your assets from the laws of the nation in which you reside. It can sometimes be used to remove one of the two certainties of life; taxes. Americans are far less likely than the citizens of other countries to put assets abroad because, although when you receive the benefits of being free of your country?s laws regarding assets (namely taxation) you also lose the aspect of those laws that are designed to protect your assets. Americans are far more likely to just accept taxes, because our country has an enviable financial system that people around the world wish to participate in already. However, many people would like to know more about offshore banking options for a portion of their wealth because they view taxes as an all too unnecessary evil. Whenever we read stories about the government buying a hammer for $500 from a certain large corporation (Name omitted to avoid liability) as part of a no bid contract, we may begin to entertain the idea of placing personal assets offshore.

Another reason many Americans decide not to use offshore asset protection options is that they are advised by their attorneys not to do so. This is because offshore asset protection (while desirable) is a topic that your attorney may be very unfamiliar with and therefore uneasy guiding you through it. Attorneys are as afraid of being sued for malpractice as any other professional person is and while most estate planning attorneys in the United States understand the laws that govern asset protection domestically, they are not as well versed in protecting their clients? interests abroad. For that reason, many well-intentioned, responsible and highly-able attorneys fear putting their client?s interests into a system where they cannot as easily protect them, and thus, they advise against taking assets abroad. If your own attorney has discouraged you from taking assets abroad in the past, it is a good sign that he/she genuinely cares about serving your needs as a client and is doing his/her level best to look out for you and your family. On the other hand, it is often true that asset protection in another country requires an attorney from that country, so it may be that it is simply a matter of greed and a desire not to lose your business to someone else that motivates some members of the profession to discourage offshore asset protection.

But, in an increasingly global marketplace it will become more and more common for estate planners to be well versed in the finer points of offshore asset management and the rewards that it can bring. Offshore asset management can be a powerful tool in the world of estate planning and it will become the norm for professionals in the field of estate planning to understand this complex field of law or begin to lose business to those who do understand how to take care of their clients needs using every available strategy in a global market.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
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