Today I am talking about jurisdiction and trustee selection. This is an overview video. I am going to talk about the attributes of the great jurisdiction. Next I am going to talk about the attributes of a great trustee. Then I will discuss the bottom line and some of the freebies you may be able to get.
What are the attributes of a great jurisdiction? They are not always what you think. People love to talk about the Cook Islands and their wonderful asset protection trust laws. They also talk about Belize with their short statute of limitations, and their enumerations that the trust cannot be attacked in divorce proceedings. This great asset protection laws out there and everybody asks, ‘where should I go?’.
Well, I am really different, I do not think you should do asset protection if you are underwater and in trouble; I think you should do asset protection when the financial seas are calm. So I am not hiding behind the laws of some jurisdiction. I am looking for not the best sets of laws but for the cleanest, easiest place to do business. I am looking for places that understand what asset protection trusts are. I am looking for jurisdictions that are easy to communicate with, that are roughly in my time zone, if possible. That clearly goes against the common wisdom – they always say pick the toughest place…that would clearly be Belize or the Cook Islands right now.
The problem is that, particularly with the Cook Islands, they have been tainted. There is only a very small number of trust companies there, they are all interrelated, and several of the trust companies have made a career out of taking bad clients. So if you go to the cook islands you immediately look dirty in my mind. So I do not usually start there, I sometimes go to Belize, particularly if the client is expecting problems down the road, but I make my choice on picking the cleanest and easiest jurisdictions: places like St. Lucia that does not have a history of hiding drug money so that is the first step. You want place that is easy to do business with and, in my mind, clean. Remember, no country in the world automatically enforces US judgments, so any country is fine, and as you heard in earlier videos, if problems arise in one jurisdiction, you are going to move your trust to different jurisdictions. The act of moving it requires immense hurdles and takes you at least an hour to do it and it causes your opponents endless, sometimes six months to a year, delay and endless costs expenses and troubles. So, pick a clean jurisdiction.
Attributes of a great trustee: I do not think the Giants out there are particularly great trustees because they will charge you to death, insist on managing your money, not give you personal attention. A great trustee is someone who understands that asset protection is a process, it is game theory, it is using his country to make your creditors think twice about coming after you. That is the key to real asset protection and you need a trustee who knows that he or she is likely to be fired. A great trustee is usually run by a significant law firm, in most countries most lawyers have a conflict of interest which means that in order to attack the truss company you are going to have to look far and wide to find a lawyer that does not have a conflict of interest. Again, increasing the cost to significantly for your opponent.
Look for a trustee that has support staff and a professional manager and that does not insist on managing your money – that is pretty hard to find. I do not believe you should have to pay more than $1500 a year to get a good trustee. That is if you negotiate, if you do not negotiate they are going to quote you prices of $2500-$3500. Check some references.
Work with the trust company that has a reputation for honesty and integrity. You can check the financial services agency in the government, they are happy to speak with you. Or ask the trustee to give you references. The bottom line is all you are really doing is renting the trustee’s country…you are not paying them to manage your money.
Finally, watch for freebies. Trustees are willing to help you, and will give you valuable documents to get you started. They sometimes will even help you prepare your trust agreements. I will not allow any trustees to present on this site unless they are willing to give my members a free trust agreement. I hope that this helps, thank you very much.