Because of the mounting political and economic uncertainty in many countries assets of individuals, families and businesses could be at risk. The media may able to obtain any information they want and, under the pretext of transparency and anti-money-laundering, personal and financial privacy is weakened or eliminated. Accordingly, there is an increasing need for appropriate asset protection solutions.
Asset protection is the compliant structuring of assets in a way that they become legally unreachable to possible future claimants. Asset protection structures effectively shield a person's assets from future unexpected third party litigation, punitive damages, unjustified claims or other threats to a person or family's wealth. Proper asset protection structures do not encourage or depend on illegal acts such as perjury or concealment of assets in violation of law. Instead, through the use of foreign trusts, foundations, and certain insurance products, legal arrangements are made to effectively disconnect assets from the current owners, thereby making it impossible for third parties to reach those assets.
Wealthy individuals and families, corporate executives, private investors and business persons, and other persons who are at risk of being sued frivolously need to protect themselves and their families from unjustified lawsuits and claims. It also makes sense to separate legal ownership of low-risk assets from high-risk assets, to avoid a possible liability claim arising from the high risk asset. Centralising all assets in a single ownership structure (for example, direct ownership or a simple domestic trust) might not be a sound solution. Furthermore, having assets properly structured may shield them from a possible future imposition of currency controls, possible confiscation of assets by the government, political instability, and other similar threats.
Very often, trusts set up in a foreign jurisdiction play an important role in asset protection planning. An offshore asset protection trust is a special form of trust created by a settlor in one jurisdiction under the laws of another jurisdiction in which the trust is domiciled and where it is controlled and operated.
Finding good asset protection solutions requires both careful and professional attention to ensure that the wishes and needs of the individual are fulfilled. Without proper advice, not only at the outset but each time a client's situation changes there would be a risk that the asset protection structure may not withstand if challenged in the courts.
Athos Group delivers clients individual assistance and comprehensive, yet cost-effective solutions to their international estate planning and asset protection requirements.