Serving Greater Virginia

Offshore Estate Planning

Although offshore trusts have the misperception of being only for those with a high net worth seeking to hide money from creditors, people, businesses or governmental taxing authorities, establishing an offshore trust has many legitimate estate planning and asset protection benefits.


Offshore trusts, like any domestic trust, are private. In different states within the US and in many countries, a Will may be available for public view in case a court controlled probate process is required. Heirs may be informed of uneven distributions between them, of unknown beneficiaries of a person’s wealth or the name of a charity which may be receiving funds. If your assets are in a trust the distributions to beneficiaries are private, and could very well avoid future confrontation between beneficiaries and guarantee that the assets you decide to leave to your beneficiaries are distributed according to your desires and your wish for privacy.

More importantly, forced heirship is applicable to several countries; however, these rules do not apply to offshore trusts and after-death distributions will be made according to the terms of the trust. This would ensure that distributions are made according to your desires, without the influence of the laws and regulations of US and other foreign jurisdictions.

Asset Protection

While many US states allow for domestic asset protection trusts, they are for the most part not as protective as a trust with an offshore base. For instance, some foreign countries do not permit a lawsuit against a trust after the trust has been established for just twelve months. What is more, protection is further increased when a foreign country adds difficulty to the process of even filing a claim. For example, the creditor may not be able to hire ancillary offshore legal counsel in the country where the trust is located thus requiring a suing party to physically fly to the jurisdiction to sue. Alternatively, some jurisdictions make the legal, procedural process so daunting it almost makes it practically impossible to sue a trust in the first place.


Generally, when you hear of an offshore trust running afoul of the law it is usually because the trust failed to report income and pay taxes of the jurisdictions which legally have a claim. The IRS does not care if you have an offshore trust so long as they are paid what the trust legally owes in taxes. The law firm of J.S. Burton, P.L.C. ensures that your offshore trust is established to file the appropriate tax filings in the proper jurisdictions. Typically, offshore trusts do not pay any more in taxes than simple domestic trusts do and may even reduce your overall annual tax liabilities.

Ease of Domestic Investment Allocation

Just because you have an offshore trust does not mean you cannot invest all of the trust assets in US stocks, bonds, mutual funds or ETFs. You can still maintain your domestic investment presence and keep the investments with your preferred investment company. You can even invest your tax qualified investments using offshore planning through a self directed IRA.


Although the selection of an offshore Trustee is critical, the law firm of J.S. Burton, P.L.C. will assist you in vetting the right trustee in the right jurisdiction. In addition, you can add a domestic trust protector, who can be an entity or someone known to you, with the power to remove a trustee if you believe it would be appropriate. The law firm of J.S. Burton, P.L.C. can also serve in the role of a trust protector.

There are many advantages of establishing an offshore estate planning presence in a stable jurisdiction. Contact J.S. Burton, P.L.C. for more information.

© 2022 JS Burton, P.L.C. | Disclaimer
477 Viking Drive, Suite 410, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
| Phone: 757.301.9500
5425 Discovery Park Blvd., Suite 101, Williamsburg, VA 23188
| Phone: 757.301.9500
1750 Tysons Blvd., Suite 1500, McLean, VA 22102
| Phone: 757.301.9500

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477 Viking Drive, Suite 410 , Virginia Beach, VA 23452 | Phone: 757.301.9500
5425 Discovery Park Blvd., Suite 101, Williamsburg, VA 23188 | Phone: 757.301.9500
750 Tysons Blvd., Suite 1500, McLean, VA 22102 (By Appointment Only) | Phone: 757.301.9500