Although this South Pacific island nation counts tourism as its biggest industry, offshore banking isn't far behind, and for those interested in the prospect of setting up offshore trusts, the Cook Islands are an excellent option to explore. This jurisdiction offers outstanding protections for assets held in trust, and their ability to withstand foreign judgments and even government agencies seeking to claim assets held in trust is well-documented.
Any claims against a Cook Islands trust can only proceed if the claimant files suit in the Cook Islands, and the law tends to favor established trusts and trustees. There is a one-year statute of limitations to file a claim (such as for fraudulent conveyance) against a trust established in the Cook Islands, and a two-year time limit from the cause of action. The burden of proof in such cases is extremely high and rests on the claimant, making Cook Islands trusts nearly impenetrable fortresses of asset protection.
In every case in which a trust has been challenged in the Cook Islands, the trust has been upheld, even in a couple of notable cases where the U.S. government attempted to claim assets held in trust. This is a pretty appealing track record for anyone interested in asset protection through a trust structure.
The cost to create a trust in the Cook Islands is $8,500, with annual fees of $5,500. This might seem like a lot, but you get a lot in return, including the trust registration and creation of the trust deed, the services of a licensed and bonded trustee, and a professional Protector for the trust, not to mention what could be the best asset protection on the planet.
Submitted by: Sam Hall of Harbor Financial Services