What is an offshore trust?
The concept of “trust” is older than the concept of “limited liability company». Trusts are usually to be found in Common Law countries that explains its popularity among offshore jurisdictions. Offshore trusts operate in the following way: one person – the Settlor transfers its assets to another person, the Trustee, on compulsory terms with the fact that he operates it for the benefit of third person- the Beneficiary.
Historically, trusts have been used as an alternative to the will, when the heirs were appointed by the beneficiaries, but at the same time could be significantly limited in their rights under the order of this property to a certain age or the occurrence of specified circumstances. Currently trust may also be used as an alternative to the will, with an advantage of greater flexibility and confidentiality. In most countries trusts are not registered, so the information about the Settlor and the Beneficiary remains closed to third parties.
The Settlor is the owner of the property. He transfers his property (land, real or personal property, including money) into a trust under the management of the Trustee. The Trustee can be also the Settlor or other natural or legal person, such as a professional lawyer or an accountant. The Trustee does not own the property but only manages it in the best interest of the Beneficiary who can also be the Settlor or another natural or legal person. The Trust itself is registered as a contract, but has its own bank account, and acts as a legal entity. A trust can be used to buy real estate, make investments, enter into commercial contracts etc.
After the Settlor has transferred his assets to the Trustee he no longer have any ownership rights over that asset. The exceptions are those cases where the settlor is also the beneficiary of his or, which is the case, appointed himself manager. It may also be provided for construction, when the trust property may be redeemed under certain circumstances. Officially the ownership of an asset is transferred to the Trustee, but such ownership is of very limited nature. Whereas the right to receive income from the property and the right to receive the property itself is then given to the beneficiary.
An offshore trust is a great tool, but it requires a precise and meticulous tuning by highly qualified professionals. For more information on trusts in certain jurisdictions can be obtained from our consultants.