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Delaware Trusts

For years, the state of Delaware has been a corporate friendly haven for both U.S. and world business. It is now rapidly becoming a center for creating asset protection trusts for Americans and for foreigners. As such, Delaware Trusts have been become vastly popular.

For a number of decades, U.S. corporations set up operations in Delaware to take advantage of the state's tax code, friendly business climate and sophisticated legal environment. Nowadays, families who are seeking to protect their fortunes from heavy tax burdens and complicated trust laws are following corporate America's lead.

The best news about Delaware Trusts is that you don't have to be a member of the Dupont family in order to move there to set up a trust. As long as the trustee has a base in Delaware, families are able to enjoy the financial benefits of a Delaware Trust from anywhere in the US and, in some cases, the world.

Melvin Warshaw, a wealth advisor with JP Morgan, said: �Delaware has enacted legislation to attract wealthy people and private-wealth banks to set up shop in the state.� JPMorgan's Trust Company of Delaware administers 800 trusts and has more than $10 billion in assets for clients around the globe.

Delaware's tax-free status makes it something of a duty-free zone between New York and Washington. But Mr Warshaw said Delaware trusts held many other attractions, and citied the following examples.

Generation Skipping Trust (GST): Also known as a dynasty trust, this Delaware trust will allow individuals, while they are alive, to pass part of their estate down to future generations while minimizing the tax. In most states, trusts have a terminus point at which future generations will be taxed. They typically extend 21 years beyond the death of the last trust beneficiary who was alive when the trust was created. If the youngest beneficiary is 21 and lives to 90, the trust will run 90 years. This may be a great tool for wealthy families, however there is a large, punishing tax bill down the road.

A Dynasty Delaware Trust will overcome this issue because Delaware allows perpetual trusts without an end date. The trusts face no future estate, gift or generation-skipping taxes as long as the assets stay in trust. It's been estimated that a $2 million investment in a standard dynasty trust, which is the most a married couple can give and still be exempt from gift tax, would yield $98 million after 90 years. A perpetual Dynasty Delaware Trust would yield $266 million, based on projected investment returns.

Foreign Trust: Foreign Delaware Trusts are useful tools for world citizens residing outside the U.S. but want to pass on more of their estate to beneficiaries who are either U.S. residents or citizens. A foreign trust is exempt from gift-estate and GST taxes and may be set up so that, while alive, an individual pays no taxes on it. It is a useful tool made even better with a Delaware-sited foreign trust. First, it can be a perpetual trust, similar to a dynasty trust. Second, Delaware Trust laws prevent creditors from taking possession of assets in the trust, (similar to an offshore haven). Third, a lot of countries have adopted anti-tax deferral legislation, and they have subsequently drawn up �black lists� of tax haven countries.

A trust in a tax haven country could be taxable under these rules. However, Delaware Foreign Trusts are likely to avert anti-tax deferral legislation because of the unlikelihood of the U.S. to turn up on such black lists.

Statutory Delaware Trust: Statutory Delaware trusts are great tools for individuals who desire to set up a tax-advantaged trust with diverse objectives because they can be designed for multiple participants with different needs. For example, should an individual want to use a portion of the trust to provide income for himself, his portion of the trust can have an asset allocation that is heavy on cash and fixed-income instruments. His grandchildren's portion of the trust can then be directed towards stocks since they won't need the income for many years. As usual,statutory Delaware trusts enjoy all the benefits of the state's tax laws.

Total Return Trusts: A challenge with wealth management is that income-producing assets are less fecund, with average dividend yields falling and fixed-income near low yield levels. Four years ago, Delaware adopted a statute that allowed for total return trusts. These Delaware trusts permit a trustee to convert a mandatory pay-out trust delivering a combination of income and principal. So, if a trust with $50 million has a yield of only 1.5 per cent, the trust can be structured to pay out 4 per cent a year by taking a portion of the principal. Therefore, the beneficiary receives $2 million a year annually instead of $800,000.