Dr. Yakitori is a 33-year old single man. Despite his youth, he quickly built up a fabulous practice doing elective cosmetic procedures. When he visited our offices he was fearful that one of those procedures – his patient was a well-known entertainer – may have gone bad, with disastrous consequences.
Because Dr. Yakitori is single, a transmutation agreement was out of the question. Dr. Yakitori also had no qualified retirement plan. What Dr. Yakitori did have was cash, and lots of it, all sitting in Los Angeles banks and brokerage firms. We advised Dr. Yakitori that he was an ideal candidate for a foreign asset protection trust, i.e. a trust formed in a country whose laws are friendly to him and hostile to all of his creditors. As with everything in Asset Protection, there is no foolproof strategy. But if a FAPT is entered into and funded (i.e. the assets titled in the name of the trust) early enough, a FAPT is the closest thing in the world to a sure thing. Those at higher risk of being sued and may need this type of asset protection include lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, contractors, property developers and accountants. It’s important to note that offshore trusts cannot be set up after someone has filed suit against the client or if a lawsuit is imminent—that would be considered a fraudulent transfer.
Dr. Yakitori was concerned about transferring the bulk of his wealth to a country he has never heard of before. We advised him that initially the money could remain with his existing banks and brokerage firms, provided that the accounts should be retitled in the name of the FAPT. Eventually, Dr. Yakitori would need to move the cash offshore, but not to some small Caribbean nation. Instead, the money would be moved to a large private bank in Switzerland or the Singapore. This would allow Dr. Yakitori to take advantage of the favorable trust laws of the asset protection friendly jurisdictions while investing his money in a safe financial center.
To learn more about trusts and asset protection, contact Jacob Stein.