Why incorporate offshore?
Because litigation is increasing drastically in the U.S., professionals and small business owners are now being forced to focus on ways in protecting their savings, investments and other accumulated assets that are attractive targets for greedy trial lawyers. This paves the way for them to incorporate offshore.
In the U.S. Legal System, the courts and juries nowadays seem to be more in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants. Because this observation encourages filing of frivolous lawsuits, the small business owner or the professional may find themselves being sued several times during their lifetimes, thereby facing the possibility of being on the receiving end of a ruinous judgment. Failure to plan properly for such a situation can result in the loss of an accumulation of a lifetime's wealth. Once a lawsuit has been filed, or if one is anticipated, the U.S. legal system does not allow assets to be moved. Therefore it's imperative that you incorporate offshore now while the waters are calm.
Locating your assets
Lawyers for plaintiffs will usually only prosecute cases that they believe will pay off. They will not accept cases against judgment-proof defendants. So, the question is how does a lawyer find out if you have something of value? Surprisingly, it's really not very difficult to do. There are a number of agencies available that can provide a detailed account of personal and/or business bank accounts, property ownership, investment holdings, income, savings and other facts relating to your financial well being. The only hope you would have of possibly getting the plaintiff's lawyer to accept a token settlement is by convincing the lawyer that your assets are truly beyond the his reach.
You are able to minimize the chances of losing your assets simply by becoming a smaller target. You do this by shrinking the size of your estate so that you are no longer the legal owner of the assets to be controlled. You accomplish this by getting as many of your assets out of your personal name as possible. One way to do this is by transferring money, investments and assets into a corporation, a legal entity that you control.
U.S. Corporations versus Overseas Corporations
The majority of trial lawyers will probably inform you that it isn't worth the effort to form a U.S. corporation for liability protection and privacy. After all, U.S. corporate formation documents are public information, and any good investigating firm would be able to find bank accounts, investments, real estate and other assets held by the corporation. The U.S. corporate veil is routinely ignored and lawsuits are filed against the corporation and any of its beneficial owners. But, by forming an offshore corporation, you have a legal entity to hold assets of which only you know the beneficial owner. The information-gathering agencies and services that assist trial lawyers, ex-spouses, former business partners and creditors would be unable to find your accounts and assets, which would make you a poor prospect for a lawsuit.
Foreign courts do not automatically recognize U.S. JUdgments
An offshore corporation can conduct the same kind of business in the U.S. that a U.S. corporation can. You sacrifice nothing by having complete privacy and a corporate veil with real teeth in it. For example, should your offshore International Business Company (IBC) becomes involved in a lawsuit, the Supreme Court of the country where your offshore corporation is located does not recognize U.S. judgments against a company incorporated in its jurisdiction. A plaintiff would then have to hire a attorney in that country, and pay him out of pocket (most countries have no contingency fees) and try to convince the court to hear the case. Historically, offshore courts will not rule in favor of a plaintiff if it can be proven that the assets were moved prior to when the judgment was filed. Once the plaintiff sees the uphill battle involved along as well as the enormous costs he has to pay, he may do either one of two things: reevaluate the merits of filing a lawsuit or settle for a fraction of the settlement he may have received in a U.S. Court. That's a major reason why people choose to incorporate offshore.
Every year, there is an increase in the number of doctors, professional business people and small businessmen who go offshore to lower their liability insurance coverage, thereby saving tens of thousands of dollars each year in premiums. Small businesses also go offshore to reduce or eliminate franchise taxes and to give them other alternatives to insurance coverage that has become too expensive to carry.
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