Cook Islands is an independent country in free association with New Zealand. It was in Cook Islands that special laws for asset protection trusts were enacted in 1989. Currently their laws offer better asset protection than any other offshore jurisdiction.
Cook Islands’ asset protection law established convenient and flexible rules that allow individuals to enjoy privacy. There are also some specific provisions that assure that the trust will not be overcome by heirship rules. The trustee, beneficiaries, and settlor of an international trust are exempt from any tax in the Cook Islands.
Cook Islands asset protection law deters creditors by not recognizing certain foreign court judgments relating to trusts. The law prevents creditors from searching individuals’ assets by limiting the use of interrogatories. Interrogatories are questions designed to help identify property the debtor owns that could be beneficial to a creditor. This includes wages, bank accounts, real estate, vehicle, or other assets.
Assets moved to a Cook Island asset protection trust cannot be seized by creditors. U.S. judges cannot force the trustee to release funds to creditors.
The advantages offered by a Cook Islands asset protection trust attract many Americans
Grenada is a Caribbean island state. U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere on the island. It is recognized as one of the best jurisdictions for asset protection and tax benefits. Grenada introduced a comprehensive legislation package in 1996 that includes an international companies act, international insurance act, offshore banking act, and an international trust and company management act—all to attract international investors.
Setting up an International Business Corporation (IBC) in Grenada offers high-level asset protection. You can also enjoy several other benefits by establishing an IBC in Grenada including ease of incorporation. Disclosure of shareholders and directors is not required unless the corporation will be involved in a licensed activity like company management, trusts, banking, or insurance. Bearer shares are allowed providing the ultimate in privacy. An IBC in Grenada is fully tax-exempt. There are no specific legal requirements for the Articles of Association for the IBC; the Memorandum of Association is sufficient.
Living trusts in Grenada can be ideal financial tools for protecting assets. An asset protection trust formed in Grenada provides anonymous bank accounts ownership. Money in these accounts is protected from tax authorities and claimants. Grenada’s legislation offers exemptions from income tax, estate tax, capital gains tax, and custom duties.
Until recently, Switzerland was one of, if not the most important banking centers in the world. The Swiss Constitution and banking laws offered strict standards of privacy. Disclosure of account information was prohibited in divorce, lawsuits, and creditor claims cases. Swiss Law did not allow disclosure of bank information to foreign tax authorities including the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The Swiss legal system does not recognize foreign judgments, including bankruptcies.
Recent changes altered this law. Now Swiss bank accounts must have the holder(s) signed legal document attesting that they have no outstanding financial obligations to the IRS. Despite this, Swiss banks have been criticized for improperly shielding individuals practicing tax evasion.
In January 2003, the United States Treasury Department announced a new information sharing agreement under a pre-existing U.S.-Swiss Income Tax Convention. The agreement was intended to facilitate more effective tax information exchange between the two countries. However, Swiss policy has continued to come under international criticism and in March 2009 Switzerland agreed to renegotiate more effective tax cooperation with the United States and other countries.
Swiss law and Swiss jurisdiction offer immense protection to your assets. In Switzerland assets can be transferred to a holding company. Assets in the holding company can be managed by the managing director of the Swiss company. Assets are held in the name of the company and therefore are protected. Swiss corporations provide investor anonymity but the managing director of the company’s name will be disclosed. An existing holding company in Switzerland can be used to transfer money and assets. Contribution will increase the registered share capital of the company and dividends can be paid to shareholders.