What is an Asset Protection Trust?
An asset protection trust is any trust formed for a term of years in a foreign jurisdiction which:
- either does not recognize or imposes significant barriers to the recognition of United States judgments.
- Has enacted a Statute of Elizabeth override provision, and
- imposes strict procedural barriers to actions brought in that jurisdiction attacking trusts settled in that jurisdiction.
Normally, at least if the settlor of this trust is a United States resident, the trust will also:
- be irrevocable for a period of years,
- have beneficiaries other than the settlor, and
- position the settlor as a contingent remainderman.
At the termination of the trust all undistributed trust assets, including the original res and all income earned thereon, are returned to the settlor. Distributions are normally discretionary with the trustee whose actions will be guided by a Committee of Trust Advisors or a Protector.
In the event of a creditor attack threatening the assets in any way, the termination of the trust will be delayed until the assets can be safely distributed to the settlor or the beneficiaries of his choice. In the event that the trustor its assets are subject to aggressive attack in the foreign jurisdiction, the situs of the trust will be changed (perhaps automatically) to a new and undisclosed jurisdiction. A properly settled asset protection trust is very difficult to penetrate.
Who needs asset protection? Only folks who want to keep what they have. Wherever you are right now, let me ask you to do a little experiment. Look at your wall clock, wristwatch or desk clock, anything that has a second hand or shows second’s ticking off.
Now…count off half-a-minute…do you know what just happened there? You probably didn’t feel a thing, right? Well somewhere, someone just got a severe case of heartache and/or anxiety because in that 30-seconds another lawsuit was just filed. And nine out of every ten lawsuits (in the world) are filed in the United States.
What does that mean to you? Well if you have assets worth $25,000 or more, you are a potential target of a financial attack from one of many predators (i.e. creditors, unscrupulous attorneys, even the IRS). If you own a business or practice a profession, your odds of being hit with a lawsuit in the next year are one-in-three!!
If you have more than $25, 000 in assets, your risk is even greater. If you have stocks and bonds, if you’re a celebrity in the public eye (at any level), even if you’re only known in small circles as someone who is “doing well” you are considered a prime target for a sue happy individual.
If you happen to engage in activities in your business or personal life that could create a liability situation for you, ask yourself this what if question: “What would happen to me (or my family) if I were to lose everything.”
It’s terrifying to even think of that. But in today’s world this ” what if?” question, has become a “what now?” reality for countless individuals. Anyone with anything worth taking is at risk…business owners, licensed professionals, even ordinary families.
The statistics are alarming and chances are it will only get worse with a steady stream of an estimated 100,000 plus law school students in school each year. As more lawyers enter an already saturated market, a large percentage of them will resort to a life as a professional taker.
Don’t leave yourself open to attack. Educate yourself and take action today.
ap Planning / Trust Info