An offshore trust is a primary legal tool involved in offshore planning. The offshore trust is generally a “self-settled trust.” This is a trust where the settlor and the beneficiary are both one and the same. The trustee is a person who is nominated by the settlor and is either an individual who is not a U.S. citizen or a business having no U.S. offices or affiliation. An offshore trust has additional people who serve as trust advisors or trust protectors. These individuals are not under the settlor’s control, but they have certain powers in the administration and protection of the trust and its assets. Offshore trusts provide a method of transferring assets between generations, probate free. The trust will usually provide that assets will automatically pass to named successor beneficiaries upon the settlor’s death.
The problem with most tax planning is that you have to give up something to get something. To get an income tax deduction you must spend a dollar to save taxation on a dollar. To get a deduction for a business expense, you must incur a business expense. To get a personal deduction you must pay a deductible expense.
Income taxes are not at a 100% rate thankfully, so one normally thinks wisely before spending a dollar to save tax on a dollar, usually about 40% (35% federal plus state tax). Then if you save the dollar long enough your estate may become so large that it has to pay an estate tax of almost 50% (currently 47%). Let’s not forget FICA and Medicare, both sides being around 15%. Phew, it’s no wonder why most people loathe the IRS and tax time.