International Tax Law:

Do Off-Shore Protection Trusts Really Work?

Offshore asset protection trusts offer businessmen an opportunity to escape from the tax wrath of the IRS. By placing their assets in a foreign jurisdiction, they don't pay any U.S. taxes and they are able to keep their money out of the hands of their creditors. Many foreign countries these days offer "asset protection" from the U.S. jurisdiction. U.S. jurisdiction still applies in many different ways to these trusts.

Does this really work? The answer is no. The creditors are still able to get their hands on the money that your client supposedly placed in offshore asset protection trust. The only positive effect that this action could have in their case is that the creditors might not want to pursue such an expensive arrangement such as the offshore account because they might think of what the repercussion could mean if they lost. A lawsuit costs a lot of money to both sides of the table. Your client's creditors might not want to pursue. Other then that creating an offshore asset protection trust is not really any protection.

A direct disadvantage of such a trust is that your client might be trying to hide their assets from the IRS. That's a criminal felony and they won't get too far.

Another disadvantage is the fact that your client's creditors can force them into bankruptcy. A trustee will take charge of your client's estate and is able to find out about their foreign assets. He or she can distribute their assets to the creditors.

Another thing that a state court can do is to rule the transfer of foreign assets illegal, thereby foreign jurisdiction of "asset protection" would not apply.

The best way is to create a safe haven for their money is to establish a domestic asset protection trust, which offers a lot more advantages and protection.