Have you wondered if there’s any real benefit to establishing and growing financial accounts outside of your native country? Many people, as well as corporations, do enjoy a variety of benefits by establishing everything from international trusts to lifestyle accounts in Belize. Would you benefit from this type of financial arrangement? Consider these five advantages and see if any of them apply to you. If so, it’s time to search for a reputable institution in Belize and establish your first account.
Protecting Assets in The Event of a Divorce
People don’t typically marry with the expectation of divorcing at some later date. Even so, life comes with no guarantees. What starts out as a happy union may become intolerable over time. Rather than assume it could never happen to you, it pays to be prepared.
One area where you want protection is your finances. You can bet that all domestic bank accounts, property, and investment accounts will likely be included in the divorce settlement. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce, you could end up with little in the way of assets.
Here’s what you need to know about the funds that are tucked away in your offshore accounts: they are highly unlikely to be subject to any type of settlement action. Even if the divorce wipes you out financially, the assets in your lifestyle account or offshore trust are still intact. You can use them to begin rebuilding your financial stability without wondering how you will manage to live.
Protection from Creditors and Judgments
Financial setbacks can occur for a number of reasons. A job loss or an extended illness that leaves you unable to earn a living are two examples. What happens if you can’t pay your bills and the creditors come for you? How will you deal with the situation?
To a great extent, your domestic assets are not protected from creditor claims or court actions. While there are some laws that may leave you with something, the more likely scenario is that not much will be left. That will make recovering from your financial setback all the more difficult.
The thing to remember about offshore banking and investment accounts is that they are not subject to the same laws that apply to your domestic accounts. Even if your creditors are aware that the offshore accounts exist, it’s unlikely that they can touch them in any way. Consider those international accounts to be your financial cushion when most of your assets at home could be taken away.
Protection from Tax Liens
Tax debt can accrue long before you know anything is wrong. Perhaps your accountant made errors that left you owing a substantial sum. Maybe your employer withheld money from your paycheck but never forwarded anything to the local, state, or federal agencies. Whatever the origin, you are ultimately responsible for the debt. If you can’t work out a payment plan and borrowing the funds are out of the question, a tax lien is probably in your future.
What many people don’t realize is that laws in Belize protect account balances from liens executed in other nations. While there are some exceptions, the assets in your offshore accounts are typically protected from any type of domestic legal action. You’ll still lose assets or have funds seized by the tax agencies, but at least your offshore balances will be there to help you rebuild.
Saving Assets If You Declare Bankruptcy
The decision to seek bankruptcy protection is one that many people only make when there seems to be no alternative. Even with corporations, this type of action is not something done lightly. There are repercussions that will take years to resolve. Even so, bankruptcy will allow you to move forward.
Personal bankruptcy actions typically involve turning overall assets that are not considered exempt by the court. Those are sold to partially settle creditor debts. Depending on the type of personal bankruptcy you’re seeking, the remaining debt is discharged, or you pay it off with installments that continue for some time between three and five years.
If you have investment accounts, offshore trusts, or even a checking account with a bank in Belize, those financial assets are unlikely to be considered by the court. The focus is on your domestic assets. While you do still have to live with the ramifications of the bankruptcy, the assets held in your offshore accounts are there to help you make a fresh financial start.
Strong Protections That Reduce the Risk of Fraudulent Funds Transfers
Hackers are constantly developing new ways to breach and make unauthorized use of financial account balances. One of the more common dangers has to do with transferring funds out of hacked accounts through a series of other accounts. In the worst-case scenario, it can take time to recover or replace the funds. In the meantime, you are left with little to no money.
One of the benefits associated with banks in Belize is the degree of protection they provide with any type of offshore financial account. Activity that seems out of the ordinary is often shut down at once. Unless the hacker can provide data that confirms his or her identity as the account holder or at least an authorized party, all funds transfer attempts are denied. Thanks to those protections, you can rest assured that the money in your accounts is going nowhere without your knowledge and consent.
Getting Started with Offshore Asset Protection
Would it be in your best interests to establish offshore accounts in Belize? Many people have already said yes. Spend some time researching the qualifications for establishing different types of accounts.
Pay close attention to matters like minimum initial deposits and the location of your permanent residence. Remember to look closely at interest rates and how you can access those accounts if the need arises. There’s a good chance that you’ll like what you learn and see the wisdom of setting up at least one type of account.
Luigi Wewege is the SVP, Head of Private Banking of Belize based Caye International Bank, a FinTech School Instructor and the published author of The Digital Banking Revolution. You can follow his posts on trends shaping the banking and financial services industry on Twitter: @luigiwewege
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