The Family Savings Trust is a broad descriptive term for a trust intended to hold and protect assets against lawsuits and business risks. A Family Savings Trust is extremely flexible in form and almost any asset protection and estate planning goal can be accomplished by an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in this field. Using creative trust strategies, the planning opportunities for achieving tax savings and asset protection advantages are unlimited.
Public opinion, policy and the law in general is now favorable to asset protection planning with trusts, as long as the planning is not intended to defraud creditors or violate existing laws against Fraudulent Transfers.
Based on these new laws and advances in technique, trusts can be designed which combine the best features of domestic and even offshore arrangements within a single trust. All of your assets can be held within the trust–but governed by special terms appropriate for that asset.
For example, your trust may be designed to hold your home, accounts receivable, and your savings and brokerage accounts. Or the trust can own the entities, such as an FLP or LLC or a Personal Residence Trust. This trust may contain specific language to:
- Protect your residence while preserving the tax benefits associated with the home (mortgage interest, property taxes, avoidance of gain in sale;
- Protect your LLC (or FLP) interests from charging order or foreclosure
- Protect your accounts receivable or other business assets with an equity reduction strategy
- Protect your savings and brokerage accounts
- Create the degree of privacy that you wish to accomplish
- Provide the traditional estate planning features of a living trust as well as advanced estate tax savings measures if needed.
Depending upon your goals and the circumstances of your case, a Family Savings Trust may be designed to permit you to retain the level of control and continued enjoyment of your property that you wish to retain. The trust may permit you to serve as a special beneficiary, with current rights to income and principle. Or, you may prefer to set aside and protect your savings until retirement. If you do not need to use the current income from your investments while you are practicing, this type of arrangement may provide excellent protection with maximum flexibility.
An additional feature, which can be added to a Family Savings Trust, if desired, allows the trust to obtain certain “offshore’ advantages, at some later point. For example, the trust can be structured to permit a migration of the trust to a more favorable jurisdiction – domestic or foreign – when and if necessary. In the right situation, this provision can be used to force any future plaintiff to proceed with a lawsuit against you in a string of unfriendly foreign jurisdictions to which the trust has continuously migrated. For example, under normal circumstances, the trust exists and is governed by whatever domestic law we choose. But, if circumstances warrant, and strategy dictates, we can convert all or a portion of the trust or it’s assets into an Offshore Trust or Offshore LLC- legally protected and effectively out of reach. A plaintiff attempting to litigate in a foreign country, would be faced with nearly impossible hurdles, subject only to local Fraudulent Transfer rules and the applicable Statutes of Limitations