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Asset Protection, Panama Offshore Banking and Panama Foundations

As governments in the United States and other countries encroach more and more on the privacy of their citizens, people search to find privacy and security for their property, possessions and corporate information. While asset protection has become a hot topic in both corporate and private sectors, the judicial system (particularly in the US) has systematically weakened the trust structure. While this weakening has negatively impacted trusts in the US, offshore trusts have become better options; the best country for offshore asset protection is Panama.

Panama implemented laws in 1995 to create the Panamanian Foundation. While this is a fairly new structure, it was patterned after the Foundation structure of Liechtenstein, which has successfully existed for quite some time and has been a valuable asset protection vehicle. In fact for those who are offshore, Panamanian Foundation has several advantages over its Liechtenstein predecessor; it is much cheaper to establish a Panama Foundation (from as little as $1,000 for Panama as opposed to $10,000 or more for Liechtenstein), it is cheaper to maintain a Panama Foundation and it offers more flexibility while protecting the assets of the holder.

To understand the idea and benefits of the foundation structure, it is important to first understand the difference between a trust and a corporation. Most people create corporations as a vehicle to reduce tax liabilities and protect their assets from lawsuits or claims against their estate. The corporate entity is used worldwide to protect its assets and liabilities separate from the personal wealth of the owner. The key point is that the corporation’s assets and liabilities of are separate and distinct from those of the shareholders. Conversely, trusts are typical in common law countries and used as a haven in estate planning. The common interpretation of trusts is that they are actually, in the eyes of the court, unique individuals and have rights under the law. Because of the legal interpretation of trusts, they offer little protection for those who hold them.

It is also important to something else; English speaking countries typically use Common law and many non-English speaking countries traditionally use Civil Law. The Panamanian Foundation structure offers some of the best benefits of both the trust structure and offshore corporation in one; in addition, since Panama is a Civil Law country, it is believed by many to be a better choice for those people who reside in countries that are under the jurisdiction of Common Law. (Such as the US) Because of these benefits, an offshore Panamanian Foundation can be an excellent means of asset protection for many Americans.

This is precisely why more people are seeking asset protection, both personally and corporately, in the offshore Panamanian Foundation. Panama has become the second largest banking center in the world (behind Switzerland) and possesses perhaps the best secrecy laws. In Panama, it is possible both for a person to privately protect his assets without anyone knowing the owner and for a corporation to hold and protect the assets of an individual without anyone being able to ascertain their identities. This high level of asset protection makes offshore Panamanian Foundations very attractive to people in common law countries.

For our legal fees for forming a Panama corporation or Panama foundation please click the link below, or contact us for more information.

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