Panama
Company Formation Services

Panamian Offshore Trusts and Private Interest Foundations

Estate Planning Tools

An Offshore Trust or Foundation is ideal for Estate and Asset Protection and Planning purposes. The use of a discretionary Trust or Foundation enables a family fortune to be easily preserved for the benefit of several generations.

Each trust or foundation needs to be carefully formulated including a detailed need analysis with special attention on the tax aspects. In addition, special care is taken when choosing the appropriate jurisdiction, the rights of the settlor/ founder and beneficiaries, their place of residence and the location of the assets. This is our speciality and for further information on the mechanisms and procedures involved, please check the attached reports, or Contact Us.

Now, we will define in short terms what a Trust and foundation are and the benefits that may be derived from using them. The main characteristic of a Trust is that the legal right to handle the Trust assets, is separate from the right to benefit from them. The Settlor of a Trust (the one who sets it up), transfers land, money and other property to the Trustees, who acquire legal ownership of these assets, but are bound by law to manage them in the best interest of the beneficiaries, who have the beneficial ownership.

A Foundation is a separate legal entity, which the Founder endows with assets for a particular purpose as specified in the Foundation deed and articles. The purpose of a Foundation is usually to provide benefits for members of a family and is usually formed in Panama, BVI or Liechtenstein due to the flexibility offered in these jurisdictions. A Board, appointed by the Founder, is responsible for managing the assets and distributing the benefits to the Beneficiaries, in accordance with the foundation articles and by-laws. A supervisory committee may be used where prior consent is necessary for important decisions. The articles are supplemented by confidential by-laws detailing the composition and powers of the supervisory committee as well as the names and/or classes of beneficiaries.

One of the benefits of a Trust or Foundation is the ability to limit the first beneficiaries to income and/or a portion of the assets thereby preserving the family fortune for the benefit of several generations. Another possibility may be for the protection of minors and young adults, by having the Trust or Foundation support them financially and defer their right to receive a share of the assets until they have reached a certain age.

For tax purposes, the use of a Trust or Foundation allows the elimination of wealth tax that would normally be imposed on the assets placed therein, as well as tax on capital gains resulting from their subsequent sale. Income tax is deferred or eliminated as long as the assets are kept within the Trust or Foundation and no distribution is made.

Transmission of the assets – Assets Protection – to the beneficiaries does not give rise to inheritance tax on the death of the settlor or founder, or if new beneficiaries are substituted for those no longer alive.

For further information on establishing an offshore Trust or Foundation, please Contact us, and we will provide complete and detailed information.