Offshore Disaster !

Jon Alper Offshore Planning

Two asset protection clients hired me after they had already established offshore corporations. These offshore corporations were located in Central America, and they were headed by a well-established and respected foreign attorney in the jurisdiction. The foreign attorney opened bank accounts for each of the clients’ corporations, and the clients transferred large sums of money to these accounts. In order to keep themselves out of control of the offshore corporations, the clients agreed to have the attorney named as signatory on the bank accounts. Only the offshore attorney could access the accounts. Therefore, in theory a U.S. judge could not force the client to withdraw money from the account because the client did not have the legal right to access the account.

This arrangement was working satisfactorily for all clients for an extended period of time. If money was needed, an appropriate request was transmitted through unidentified third parties to the foreign attorney, and the attorney would promptly wire funds.

This week the clients were informed that the foreign attorney in charge of their accounts committed suicide. The clients find themselves without access to their money and with no assurance money is still in their accounts.

Hopefully, the story will not have an unhappy ending, and funds will be located. However, I know of two clients who are not sleeping well this weekend.

Offshore planning seems attractive in theory, but you better have good reason to trust people you put in control of your money.

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Alper Law is a Florida law firm focusing on asset protection for businesses and individuals.