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The Cook Islands, a Pacific island nation 2000 miles Northeast of New Zealand, passed the International Trusts Act in 1984.  This law created the first true Asset Protection Trust: A Self-Settled Spendthrift Trust which is statutorily prohibited from recognizing any foreign judgements or jurisdiction. Many countries followed suit, including Belize, Bahamas, Nevis, and Cayman Islands creating several Foreign Asset Protection Trust options.

For a creditor to extract assets from a Cook Islands trust, they must re-try the case from scratch in the island nation, an unfriendly jurisdiction for creditors.

Plaintiffs must hurdle the highest burden of proof of “beyond a reasonable doubt”, not the much weaker “by a preponderance of the evidence” prevalent in the U.S.  There are no contingency fee attorneys allowed, requiring plaintiffs to pay legal fees and court costs up front, which include flying a judge in from New Zealand.  Strict two-year statutes of limitations eliminate old claims. The loser of a case will likely pay their own legal expenses AND those of the winner.

The drawbacks, however, of an offshore trust include higher setup and maintenance costs and a heavier paperwork burden of IRS filings and federal disclosures.  A Settlor must also be willing to relinquish control to a foreign trustee.  There are also negative perceptions of impropriety that accompany offshore accounts, companies and trusts (although they are entirely legal and ethical).

For legally protecting assets offshore, a Cook Islands Asset Protection Trust stands at the top of the list.

Learn about the concepts of a Trust, Irrevocability, Spendthrift Provisions and much more.

5 Reasons Why the Bridge Trust® is Better than a Foreign Asset Protection Trust

Pashmina Lalchandani

CEO & Co-Founder, Bar & Cocoa / Owner, Flow Simple
December 9, 2010, Douglass was a client of Pashmina’s

I’ve known Doug in many contexts, as a friend, as a client and as a business partner and he impresses me on all levels. He’s dependable, smart, generous and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending him and his law firm to anyone.
He’s the best and most ethical lawyers providing asset protection with rock solid strategies to give you peace of mind about your wealth. Straight forward, and straight talk. Doug is exactly the lawyer I want on my side. If I send someone to Doug, I know they’ll thank me for it!

Social & Solar Entrepreneur, Pan Afrikan Theorist, Translator/Interpreter,
Founder & Visionary Leader @ Afrikanpride.
March 12, 2011, Marlon E. D. J. worked with Douglass but at different companies

Doug is one of the most powerful thinker i have came across. During the short time that i have known Doug he has been a great source of inspiration. He has a simplistic yet effective and accurate way to analyze anything you bring to his attention, and then by asking you key questions he gets you to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Besides being extremely bright, he is a genuine and caring individual which is why I feel fortunate to know him. I can say without a doubt that he his the person you would want to talk to if you were in need of a person with his expertise.
Most of the lawyers out there will probably meet your needs, but if you are looking for someone to exceed your expectations and give you that wow factor, look no more he is the person for the job.

Patricia Salter

Associate Dentist at Smileology
December 1, 2010, Patricia was a client of Douglass’

I have been a client of Douglas Lodmell’s since 2001. My main concern was asset protection in this litigious society. I can sleep alot better at night knowing I have the instruments in place to protect the fruits of my labor, and that they will not end up in the hands of a slick trial attorney.

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