The most popular arrangements for holding overseas accounts are the Asset Protection Trust and the International Business Corporation.
The APT or Offshore Trust is a flexible and convenient format for holding offshore assets such as bank and brokerage accounts, foreign real estate, and interests in other business entities. Financial privacy is achieved because the laws of the country governing the APT or Offshore Trust generally do not require disclosure of the names of the settlor, beneficiary, or protector. For instance, in the Cook Islands, the name of the trust is registered with the government, but all other information is held in confidence by the trust company. The trust document itself is also held in secrecy. If Steve Smith creates a trust, his name will be known to the trust company, but there will be no public record of his connection with the trust. In the Cayman Islands, a trust can be formed without any registration process.
Accounts can be opened in the name of the APT or Offshore Trust and, subject to local law or bank policy, the name of the settlor and beneficiary need not be disclosed. The trust can buy and sell stocks and make investments anywhere in the world-with complete anonymity for the owner.
The trust structure allows a diverse group of assets and businesses to be consolidated within a single entity for efficient administration and ultimate distribution. When everything is held under one roof, management and control are greatly simplified. The trust company is familiar with all of the assets, where they are held and what needs to be done. In the event of the settlor’s death, the trust carries on in the manner specified in the trust agreement. Administration can be continued by the trust company or assets may be distributed to the surviving spouse or family members as the settlor provided. Trust assets are not subject to court probate and the transfer of ownership is instantaneous-without interruption or complexity.