Congratulations! You’ve won that big promotion, come into an inheritance, or sold your company at a tidy profit. Now what?
You, my friend, have a wealth problem.
As problems go, that’s a good one to have. You can pay off your mortgage, quit worrying about sending your kids to good colleges, take a well-deserved vacation. But it also brings a set of new worries, including that someone might try to take away from you what’s rightfully yours.
You need the services of qualified, experienced advisors. Here’s an analogy: your good fortune is your ship, and while you’ll always be at the helm, you need a competent crew to help you steer that ship in the direction you want it to go.
You might want to consider an offshore asset protection trust, which — properly structured —can secure assets from creditors, plaintiffs in lawsuits, and even predatory ex-spouses. What it can’t do is help you minimize or avoid federal taxes, because these trusts are tax-neutral.
For nearly three decades, we’ve helped clients implement trusts in the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands court is the only court which has jurisdiction over the trustee, which, under trust law, is the holder of legal title to trust assets. The prospect of bringing a case in the Cook Islands is extremely daunting to most creditors, scammers, or vindictive spouses in a divorce case.
A U.S. lawyer cannot appear in the Cook Islands court, so plaintiff’s counsel would have to go through the unfamiliar process (and expense) of hiring Cook Islands counsel (and possibly also unfamiliar New Zealand counsel). Additionally, there’s a very short statute of limitations.
These obstacles are very likely to dissuade most people who are just looking for a quick payday. Faced with the prospect of running a risky gauntlet, most will withdraw their claims, leaving your assets untouched.
But it’s important to remember that all trusts are NOT created equal. Our trust documents are the product of more than four decades of our trust implementation experience, development and “fine tuning,” so absolutely nothing is left to chance. For your peace of mind and to protect those you love, the most important factors to consider in hiring a law firm to implement an effective asset protection structure for you are the experience and the qualifications of the lawyers.
Maybe you’ll never cross paths with someone who would like to take your hard-won assets away from you. Maybe you will never have the misfortune of being involved in a nasty divorce, or be the target of a lawsuit. But the time to think about securing what’s yours is now, not after something untoward happens. In fact, it may be catastrophic if you fail to protect yourself in advance from events like these.