A Trust is a relationship created by a “settler" whereby during his lifetime he transfers assets to a “trustee" for the benefit of another person or class of persons called “beneficiaries".
The Trust Deed is a written instrument or contractual agreement which sets out in detail the duties of the trustee, the names of the beneficiaries and the assets which are the subject of the trust. It enables the settler to make confidential provisions for himself or his family in a tax efficient manner during his lifetime or upon death, by divesting himself of income and assets to a trustee who will hold and administer them in a tax free jurisdiction such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Island, Antigua and Barbuda.
With the ever growing threat of predatory lawsuits, punitive and retroactive government regulation, and the generally uncertain climate, asset protection trusts have become an important financial planning tool for doctors, entrepreneurs, developers, professionals, businessmen and anyone who has assets they do not want to lose.
The main purpose of an offshore trust is to protect the assets of the settler against financial disaster which may be caused by excessive death duties, a spendthrift family member, marital or family breakdown, mismanagement of business ventures, contingent creditors and political risk.
The underlying principle of a trust is the clear separation of the legal ownership of the asset - which lies with the trustee - from the beneficial ownership of the asset, which lies with the beneficiaries. The trustee gives the settler an assurance that he will take responsibility for the asset and distribute or deal with it in accordance with the settler's wishes.