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Pre-nuptial Agreements

International (Offshore) Trusts

There is one way that you can be 100% certain that your pre-marital assets will be protected and will be available to support you and the lifestyle that you want to enjoy. That way involves establishing a trust for your own benefit in a foreign jurisdiction that does NOT recognize or give any legal effect to court judgments or court orders from any judge in the United States (state judges and federal judges alike). Such a trust is located in a foreign country and governed by foreign laws that were written for the express purpose of protecting trust assets from all types of creditors, including ex-spouses, judgments from all civil suits (e.g., malpractice suits, sexual harassment suits, shareholder suits against executives, and automobile accident suits - just to name a few), and even suits filed against you by the United States government (e.g., environmental cleanup suits filed by the EPA under CERCLA). This type of international trust is commonly referred to as an offshore trust. The offshore trust is there to protect the assets that are held (owned) by the trust, but it will not impact whether or not your future wages/salary may be subject to garnishment because your paycheck is not owned by the trust and, therefore, is subject to state law collection procedures. However, once you transfer assets into your offshore trust, the assets are safe from creditors. While the offshore trust cannot prevent a court from ordering you to pay alimony and it cannot protect your paycheck if there is a garnishment order - the offshore trust will NOT pay anything to your ex-spouse for alimony, and the judgment she obtained for alimony will not be worth the paper its written on to the trustee of your Cook Islands trust. Assets held in your offshore trust are safe from creditors - even ex-spouses. Accordingly, the maximum amount of asset protection possible would involve both a pre-nup agreement (to protect against future alimony) and an offshore trust to protect all assets that are in the trust, including assets transferred to the trust before marriage as well as assets that were legally transferred to the trust during marriage. Please note that you can't steal your wife's inheritance money or transfer all of your community property assets, or go rob a bank and expect that the assets will be protected. The foreign jurisdiction where your trust is located is a civilized country, and their laws frown on criminals like thieves, bank robbers, and money launderers, etc.. Offshore trusts are perfectly legal, and you will report the existence of the trust to the U.S. government, including Treasury, Customs, and the IRS. While offshore trusts can be established discreetly in regard to your fiancee, they are NOT a secret to the government. They are not about ultra-secret numbered accounts like you saw in an old spy movie. You will report the income earned by the trust to the IRS as "foreign earned income" on your Form 1040 as required by law. Tax evasion convictions tend to ruin future vacation plans. As long as you honestly report the income from your trust on your tax return, the IRS will not care that you have a foreign trust.

Please contact us for a free no-obligation phone consultation with a qualified trust attorney.

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