asset protection trusts


With life comes risk. Asset protection helps you to control that risk. By implementing conservative, proven solutions, Lighthouse Trust helps ensure that your earnings and assets serve you and your family.

What is Asset Protection Planning?

“Asset protection planning” describes an approach to protecting your assets from the reach of unanticipated creditors. There is no uniform approach to asset protection planning. Moreover, the structure used to protect one kind of asset may differ from that used to protect another type of asset.

Your lawyer will advise you that asset protection cannot be used to defeat a known creditor or an established claim. Furthermore, there is no such thing as a “bulletproof” asset protection plan; every structure features its own strengths and weaknesses.

Why Use a Trust?

In our experience, the offshore asset protection trust offers one of the most effective solutions. The trust strikes a sensible balance between convenience and safety. Additionally, the trust structure is one that has been examined by a number of U.S. and foreign courts to the effect that, properly implemented, unanticipated creditors should not be able to reach trust assets.


THE LIGHTHOUSE APPROACH
TO
ASSET PROTECTION PLANNING


  • Connector.

    Simplify

    At Lighthouse, we take the complexity out of asset protection. We work with you and your lawyer to make certain that you clearly understand the range of planning solutions available to you, giving you the opportunity to make an informed decision about your wealth plan.One simple fee covers your trust establishment, annual trustee services, and regular reporting. Our fee even covers the costs of any co-trustee services required under the laws of certain asset protection jurisdictions such as Belize, the Cook Islands, and Nevis.

  • Connector.

    Clarify

    Oftentimes, clients seeking asset protection must settle for the services offered by small, thinly capitalized trust companies in remote jurisdictions. Many of these jurisdictions lack credible banking sectors, deposit insurance, and responsible governance. With a Swiss Hybrid Trust, Lighthouse clients achieve superior asset protection without compromising on financial credibility.

  • Connector.

    Secure Your Wealth

    Clients of Lighthouse may select from three leading asset protection jurisdictions to decide on the law that is best able to protect their assets, including Belize, Nevis, and Wyoming. In conjunction with our Swiss-based headquarters, clients enjoy the peace of mind gained by the presence of an experienced Swiss trust company. Our asset protection structures are among the most resilient available under law anywhere in the world.


Creators of the Swiss Hybrid Trust

In 2007, Switzerland joined an exclusive club of twelve nations by ratifying the Hague Convention on Trusts. This legal innovation enables one to establish a trust in Switzerland that uses, as its applicable law, that of most any other country offering a trust law, including leading asset protection trust jurisdictions such as Belize. Shortly after enactment of the Hague Convention, we developed the “Swiss Hybrid Trust” and have successfully implemented this structure for countless clients over the past decade.

ADVANTAGES OF THE SWISS HYBRID TRUST

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Many countries and financial institutions refuse to do business with trusts and LLCs established under the laws of bank secrecy jurisdictions. While Switzerland offers bank secrecy and traditionally does not permit other countries to peer into Swiss-based trusts, Switzerland is not a tax haven or center for money laundering in the eyes of many countries.
Switzerland enjoys a network of tax treaties with approximately 70 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and China. Most notable asset protection trust jurisdictions have no such treaties, meaning that trust income and certain gains may be subject to punitive withholding taxes.
Swiss law allows trust settlors to select a forum for litigation that differs from that of the applicable law of the trust. Moreover, recourse through the Swiss courts is an expensive and difficult endeavor.
The best-known asset protection trust jurisdictions generally consist of very small, poor countries with narrow banking services and no credible deposit insurance. Appointment of a Swiss trustee assures access to critical banking services in the premier banking jurisdiction of Switzerland.
The presence of a Swiss regulated trustee lends a degree of credibility to the trust, helping to keep a check on other trustees and to provide a backup should something catastrophic occur to the resident trustee or the asset protection trust jurisdiction itself.

Our Asset Protection Trust Jurisdictions

In 2000, Belize became the first country to enact a law specifically barring creditors from reaching assets of a trust registered in that country regardless of the circumstances. Whereas other jurisdictions permit creditors to reach trust assets under a variety of circumstances, Belize provides a unique degree of certainty to trust planning by refusing to entertain creditor claims against trust assets.

In SEC vs. Swiss Trade and Commerce Trust, Ltd., Banner Fund International, Lloyd Winburn et al. (Belize Sup. Ct. 1994), the Belize Supreme Court confirmed this, ruling that the asset protection features of the Belize Trusts Act preclude creditor requests for Mareva injunctions.  Settlors who choose Belize as the jurisdiction for their asset protection trust therefore have the assurance that trust assets would be available to fend off litigation.  More importantly, the Belize Supreme Court has assured trust settlors that Belize trust law precludes fraudulent transfer claims altogether.

Members of the Lighthouse Trust service team, in collaboration with leading asset protection planning lawyers in the United States, drafted key amendments to the Nevis International Exempt Trust Ordinance. Implemented into law in 2015, these amendments extend the following benefits under Nevis law:

  • Transfers in trust before a creditor’s cause of action accrues cannot be set aside as fraudulent
  • A one-year “fixed window” statute of limitations on fraudulent transfers
  • Creditors must post a bond of EC $270,000 to bring a claim against a Nevis trust
  • Judicial remedies such as the Mareva injunction and Anton Piller orders are not available against a Nevis trust
  • Anti-duress provisions permit the trustee to take notice of settlors, protectors, and beneficiaries under creditor threat
  • Tax-qualified trusts such as CRATs, CRUTs, GRATs, and GRUTs are now recognizable and enforced under Nevis law

Wyoming offers the Uniform Trust Code as its base set of legislation. In addition, Wyoming has enacted a number of provisions which enable trust settlors to establish a variety of asset protection trusts in the state. Most popular among these is the Wyoming Qualified Spendthrift Trust.

Properly structured, the Wyoming Qualified Spendthrift Trust is among the most resilient asset protection trusts available under domestic law in the United States.