Is the international asset protection trust (IAPT) the best entity for international assets?

The international asset protection trust (IAPT) is the traditional protective entity. It became popular in the 1980s because of the escalating need and demand for lawsuit protection. But international trusts can be used for other purposes: To avoid forced heirship laws, for premarital planning, estate planning or international business planning. The international trust compares to domestic irrevocable trusts, though for many reasons, the international trust is considerably more protective. The primary reason is that the international trust is foreign. That one difference is critical. U.S. trusts are always vulnerable to creditors and creditor friendly U.S. courts. The IAPT is immune. Debtor friendly international financial centers govern their enforcement. U.S. court orders to repatriate the trust assets are ignored by international trustees. Your trust funds won’t be returned for the benefit of your creditor. Moreover, the trustee can relocate your trust and its assets to another jurisdiction if your trust becomes endangered. The trustee can also withhold distributions to beneficiaries with creditors. Aside from these enormously protective features, the IAPT compares to the U.S. irrevocable trust. The international trust has a grantor (or settlor, donor or trustor) who creates and funds the trust, appoints the trustees and protector, and names the beneficiaries. The trustee manages the trust for the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries receive the trust’s income and/or assets. The IAPT’s protector oversees and can replace the trustee, and approves major trustee actions. Finally, you can create self-settled trusts internationally and be a beneficiary of your own trust. Except for domestic asset protection trusts – available in only a few states, self-settled trusts provide no creditor protection. This final point is important. Only DAPT states provide creditor protection for self-settled trusts – or a trust where the grantor is also a beneficiary.