If you are interested in protecting assets internationally, the Belize Trust may be the right option for you. Belize is a country on the east coast of central America that has incredibly debtor friendly laws. That is why the Belize trust is one of the most favored tools in asset protection planning.
A trust is an estate planning tool by which a settlor (or grantor) creates a document that appoints a trustee to handle and distribute assets to specific beneficiaries at their death. During the life of the settlor the trustee may also support the settlor and/or beneficiaries. A trust protector may also be appointed in certain circumstances (almost always in international trust planning). The trust protector provides a check and balances system whereby the trustee cannot make certain decisions without obtaining the trust protector’s written approval. Once the settlor executes the trust and the trustee accepts the terms, the next step is funding. You may fund the trust with any tangible asset (i.e.: bank accounts, cash, savings accounts, brokerage accounts, life insurance, retirement benefits, etc.).
A trust can be set up in a variety of jurisdictions. Domestic trusts are usually set up in the state where the settlor lives. Jurisdictions like Florida oftentimes have more favorable trust laws, while other states have less favorable trust laws. However, International trusts offer greater asset protection benefits since the United States does not have jurisdiction over the assets.
International trust jurisdictions are not all created equal. Some countries, such as Belize, offer much more favorable debtor protections than other countries. For instance, Belize update their legislation regularly to keep up with the changing laws of the United States and other countries. Belize also allows the use of other banking jurisdictions to hold assets. The favorable laws of Belize make it a preferred international trust jurisdiction.
Belize offers several asset protection advantages. Belize trusts are extremely flexible and allow you to draft many asset protection clauses into the trust agreement. The courts in Belize does not recognize judgments from courts outside of the country; therefore, a debtor has to re-litigate the case in Belize using local counsel. The creditor must also post a bond prior to litigating in Belize. This can become costly and burdensome and certainly can be used as a deterrent against a creditor attack. The taxation laws in Belize are also very favorable since Belize does not impose any taxes on the trust, or the income earned by the trust over time.
Further, Belize does not have a vesting period or waiting period for assets to become protected once they are funded into a Belize trust. Therefore, a creditor cannot file a cause of action against you for fraudulent transfer. No vesting period means that assets moved into a Belize trust are automatically protected from creditor threats [no statute of limitations for creditors to file a fraudulent transfer action]. There are no other international jurisdictions with comparable laws.
Contact the Attorneys of The Noble Law Firm, P.A. to discuss whether international trust planning using the Belize trust is a good option for you.