On 4 September, Forbes Magazine published a feature, starting with a divorce battle said to involve billions stashed in a constantly changing array of offshore and South Dakota trusts.  It says that, at the heart of the dispute are 3 techniques used by the rich to protect their wealth from (among other threats), tax collectors, creditors, disaffected business partners and yes, soon-to-be-ex-spouses.  The oldest is offshore trusts, which have long frustrated creditors, but have been under attack by US tax authorities for more than a decade.  The newer and increasingly popular techniques are domestic asset protection trusts (DAPT) and “trust decanting”.  DAPT differ from traditional trusts in that they allow the rich to put assets in a US trust for their own benefit and then protect those assets from future creditors.  “Decanting” is a ruse used to change the terms of a supposedly irrevocable trust by removing the trust’s assets and transferring them into a new trust, typically in a state with laws that provide for maximum asset protection and opacity and no state taxes.  It is claimed that South Dakota has been the most aggressive in the race to “the absolute bottom of the pit”. 


Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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