Offshore Estate Planning

Offshore Estate Planning Attorney in Virginia

Although offshore trusts have the misperception of being only for those with a high net worth seeking to hide money from creditors, people, businesses or governmental taxing authorities, establishing an offshore trust has many legitimate estate planning and asset protection benefits.

Contact us online or by calling (888) 885-9001 today!


Offshore trusts, like any domestic trust, are private. In different states within the US and in many countries, a Will may be available for public view in case a court controlled probate process is required. Heirs may be informed of uneven distributions between them, of unknown beneficiaries of a person’s wealth or the name of a charity which may be receiving funds. If your assets are in a trust the distributions to beneficiaries are private, and could very well avoid future confrontation between beneficiaries and guarantee that the assets you decide to leave to your beneficiaries are distributed according to your desires and your wish for privacy.

More importantly, forced heirship is applicable to several countries; however, these rules do not apply to offshore trusts and after-death distributions will be made according to the terms of the trust. This would ensure that distributions are made according to your desires, without the influence of the laws and regulations of US and other foreign jurisdictions.

Asset Protection

While many US states allow for domestic asset protection trusts, they are for the most part not as protective as a trust with an offshore base. For instance, some foreign countries do not permit a lawsuit against a trust after the trust has been established for just twelve months. What is more, protection is further increased when a foreign country adds difficulty to the process of even filing a claim. For example, the creditor may not be able to hire ancillary offshore legal counsel in the country where the trust is located thus requiring a suing party to physically fly to the jurisdiction to sue. Alternatively, some jurisdictions make the legal, procedural process so daunting it almost makes it practically impossible to sue a trust in the first place.


Generally, when you hear of an offshore trust running afoul of the law it is usually because the trust failed to report income and pay taxes of the jurisdictions which legally have a claim. The IRS does not care if you have an offshore trust so long as they are paid what the trust legally owes in taxes. The law firm of J.S. Burton, P.L.C. ensures that your offshore trust is established to file the appropriate tax filings in the proper jurisdictions. Typically, offshore trusts do not pay any more in taxes than simple domestic trusts do and may even reduce your overall annual tax liabilities.

Ease of Domestic Investment Allocation

Just because you have an offshore trust does not mean you cannot invest all of the trust assets in US stocks, bonds, mutual funds or ETFs. You can still maintain your domestic investment presence and keep the investments with your preferred investment company. You can even invest your tax qualified investments using offshore planning through a self directed IRA.


Although the selection of an offshore Trustee is critical, the law firm of J.S. Burton, P.L.C. will assist you in vetting the right trustee in the right jurisdiction. In addition, you can add a domestic trust protector, who can be an entity or someone known to you, with the power to remove a trustee if you believe it would be appropriate. The law firm of J.S. Burton, P.L.C. can also serve in the role of a trust protector.

There are many advantages of establishing an offshore estate planning presence in a stable jurisdiction. Contact J.S. Burton, P.L.C. by calling (888) 885-9001 for more information.


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  • “Professional, courteous, vast knowledge and explanations were superior!”

    - Nicole G.
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    - Denise W.
  • “Our work with Attorney John Burton was all we had hoped it could be.”

    - Jim F.
  • “Mr. Burton and his team go above and beyond in ensuring that your assets and future are protected and organized!”

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    • What is estate planning?

      When someone passes away, his or her property must somehow pass to another person. In the United States, any competent adult has the right to choose the manner in which his or her assets are distributed after his or her passing. (The main exception to this general rule involves what is called a spousal right of election which disallows the complete disinheritance of a spouse in most states.) A proper estate plan also involves strategies to minimize potential estate taxes and settlement costs as well as to coordinate what would happen with your home, your investments, your business, your life insurance, your employee benefits (such as a 401K plan), and other property in the event of death or disability. On the personal side, a good estate plan should include directions to carry out your wishes regarding health care matters, so that if you ever are unable to give the directions yourself, someone you know and trust can do that for you.

    • Why is it important to establish an estate plan?

      Sadly, many individuals don’t engage in formal estate planning because they don’t think that they have “a lot of assets” or mistakenly believe that their assets will be automatically shared among their children upon their passing. If you don’t make proper legal arrangements for the management of your assets and affairs after your passing, the state’s intestacy laws will take over upon your death. This often results in the wrong people getting your assets as well as higher estate taxes.

      If you pass away without establishing an estate plan, your estate would undergo probate, a public, court-supervised proceeding. Probate can be expensive and tie up the assets of the deceased for a prolonged period before beneficiaries can receive them. Even worse, your failure to outline your intentions through proper estate planning can tear apart your family as each person maneuvers to be appointed with the authority to manage your affairs. Further, it is not unusual for bitter family feuds to ensue over modest sums of money or a family heirloom.

    • What does my estate include?

      Your estate is simply everything that you own, anywhere in the world, including:

      • Your home or any other real estate that you own
      • Your business
      • Your share of any joint accounts
      • The full value of your retirement accounts
      • Any life insurance policies that you own
      • Any property owned by a trust, over which you have a significant control
    • How do I name a guardian for my children?
      If you have children under the age of eighteen, you should designate a person or persons to be appointed guardian(s) over their person and property. Of course, if a surviving parent lives with the minor children (and has custody over them), he or she automatically continues to remain their sole guardian. This is true despite the fact that others may be named as the guardian in your estate planning documents. You should name at least one alternate guardian in case the primary guardian cannot serve or is not appointed by the court.