Belize Offshore Trusts
The idea of a trust originated centuries ago, rooted in English common law, and is recognized by most countries where English is the official language, such as Belize. The basic concept is this: the founder of the trust passes his or her assets to another person or persons, called trustees. The trustees manage the assets for the benefit of a third party, known as the beneficiary. Trust is the operative word for a reason. It involves trust. For an individual trying to protect money to benefit from a trust, he or she must create a legal entity, transfer assets to this entity (relinquishing title to them), and then remain the beneficiary of the trust. Said individual certainly needs to trust the trustee. You can probably envision the possibilities: avoiding taxation, hiding money from a spouse during a nasty divorce, moving assets during bankruptcy proceedings. An offshore trust is simply the formation of a trust in another country’s legal jurisdiction. For example, if you are a resident of Spain with personal liability judgments against you, you might be interested in establishing a Belize offshore trust. In this way, you can legally separate yourself from your assets, protecting those assets from your creditors. You can receive payments as the beneficiary of the trust, or you can name other people you trust as beneficiaries. Belize offshore trusts often benefit professionals exposed to aggressive, often unexpected litigation, such as accountants, medical personnel, lawyers, and so on.
When forming an offshore trust, ideally you should seek:
- Tax-exempt or tax-free jurisdiction, including from local income taxes and capital gains taxes
- Strong privacy protection
- Solid legal legislation and standing
- Access to foreign investment opportunities not available in your home country
- Easy communication with those helping you establishing the trust
- Inexpensive setup and maintenance costs
In other words, you should seek somewhere that you trust. Belize is becoming one of the most popular destinations for offshore trusts, because our country has all the advantages and none of the drawbacks featured elsewhere.
Additional advantages of a Belize offshore trust include:
- the English law against perpetuities does not apply
- the powers and duties of a protector are clear
- the status of a letter of wishes is clarified
- Trustee appointment and removal provisions are flexible and allow for the appointment of a sole trustee
- the law contains provisions to simplify the drafting of Belize offshore trust documents
- the law contains asset protection provisions so that a Belize offshore trust may not be set aside on the basis of claims from creditors or the order of a foreign court on account of divorce, bankruptcy, etc.
- prospective settlors may create protective Belize offshore trusts in their own favour
- registration of the offshore trust is mandatory; however, particulars on the settlor and beneficiaries are not filed with the Trusts Registry
- both charitable and non-charitable Trusts are allowed
- non-charitable offshore trusts may have a maximum duration of 120 years
- Trustees may be given full discretionary powers