Estate Planning involves careful structuring and distribution of your assets to ensure that they are protected and also are subject to minimum tax and other liabilities. Clients need to be extremely careful in determining their investment structure to ensure that their tax liabilities are minimized and they also do not violate any legislative provisions.
Trust has traditionally been one of the most preferred modes of asset protection in offshore jurisdictions. It requires two persons to start a trust, a Settlor and a Trustee. A settlor provides the assets for the trust and through the trust, deed provides the guidelines through which the trustee should manage the assets for the ultimate owner of the trust – ‘The beneficiary.’
The Trustee just acts as the intermediate owner and the ultimate owner of the ‘Trust assets’ is the beneficiary. A trust is preferred as an investment option as it is considered as a separate legal entity under which the assets provided to the Trust no longer belong to the settler. The Courts under almost all circumstances do not look into the trust assets and leave them aside from the assets of the settler.
The trust and estate plan of every individual normally varies because they have their plans and goals to fulfill. Further, the quantum and types of assets vary and also the way that they are managed.
Estate planning requires careful evaluation of all issues to ensure that the final beneficiaries can make full use of the assets and on the other hand there is no loss of control by the original owner of the assets. Estate planning also in many cases involves succession plans, nonprofits, planned giving programs, tax-exempt organizations, charitable trusts, and private foundations.
No designation has been made by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for a Certificate of Special Competence in this area.