Controlling Your International Wealth
More people hesitate to safeguard their money internationally because they
have concerns about relinquishing control over their money to a foreign
trustee. The trust gives your trustee broad powers to do whatever is necessary
to protect or enhance the trust assets. These same powers are found in
any irrevocable trust include the right to sell, buy, lease, encumber,
or invest trust assets, defend or prosecute claims, pay debts and taxes,
hire other professionals, make loans and/or distribute income or principal
to beneficiaries, and so forth.
The trust purposely grants the trustee broad powers, while the grantor
retains none or negligible authority. A grantor who retains too much control
loses protection. However, delegating control over your wealth to a foreign
trustee will become far less frightening once you realize that foreign
trustees will comply with a grantor's voluntary wishes. Moreover,
they are exceptionally trustworthy based on their track record for honesty
You can allay concerns about losing control through a number of strategies.
You thus balance protection against your natural desire to retain control
over your international funds. However, your attorney must tell you precisely
how much control you can safely retain without jeopardizing your protection.
For example, whomever you appoint as your protector will logically follow
your directions to block trustee actions or replace the trustee. Through
your protector you have alter ego control. Or you can make your international
trust revocable until a specified event, such as a lawsuit, when your
trust would automatically become irrevocable. Or your limited partnership
can be owned by an international trust as its limited partner. You would
be the general partner and stay in control of the partnership assets within
the U.S. until you are sued, when you would transfer the partnership assets
to the trust. Or you can be the managing director of an IBC (foreign company),
which would be owned by the trust. The trust funds can be invested in
the IBC which would be under your control. Or you can control the trusteeship
until threatened by creditors. For instance, you and/or your spouse can
be the co-trustees with your foreign trustee. Or you and/or your protector
can be co- signers on the trust bank accounts. Or you can keep your trust
unfunded until you are sued.
These and other safeguards insure that your assets will be handled properly.
Still, your worry about losing direct control over your wealth is understandable.
You have little cause for concern. International professionals are bonded,
licensed, and backed by the reputation of their own IFCs.
You will find long established and excellent trustee firms within every
IFC. Most are lawyers or chartered accountants. Your trustee should be
well established and administer many trusts and international entities.
An active trustee firm can provide you a wide range of services and effectively
deliver those services. Your advisor who sets up your trust can recommend
a trustee who has provided other clients good service. Our own firm uses
only the largest and most established firms.
Check your trustee's references. How many clients do they have? Are
their clients satisfied? How long have they been in business? Who within
their firm will handle your account? Will they provide bank references?
Bonding? Can they deliver the services you need? Are they accessible?
Responsive? What are their fees?
YES, YOU CAN LOSE EVERYTHING!
You may think that your wealth is safe and that you don't need protection.
But don't delude yourself and accept reality —
for every 60 minutes you spend making money, spend 60 seconds thinking
about how to protect it!