Offshore instruments of asset protection no longer belong in the realm of the wealthiest individuals with high paid financial advisors. Thanks to the internet and globalization of financial markets, there are plenty of firms that can help just about anyone "go offshore". What follows is a brief introduction to some of the most popular tools of offshore asset protection and how they can be used by online business people and internet marketers like yourself to protect and grow your business.
1. Offshore Trusts
An offshore trust is a very simple agreement that helps put some distance between you and your hard earned assets. A trust is simply a legally binding agreement between two parties - the grantor and the trustee. The grantor "grants" control over specified assest and property to the trustee, who is then responsible for them. Beneficiaries are listed in the trust, who will "benefit" from the assests being entrusted. Often this is in the form of receiving the assets upon the death of the grantor, or by receiving the profits generated by the assets listed.
The main point is that this agreement helps separate the grantor - you - from these assets in a legal sense, making it more difficult for someone to take them from you. By moving the trust offshore, there is an added layer of protection. If you've ever worried about a frivolous lawsuit destroying all you've worked for in your internet business, this is certainly a form of asset protection you'll want to look into.
2. Offshore Incorporation
There are many benefits for the internet marketer who chooses to incorporate offshore. Protecting your privacy from the prying eyes of an ever more invasive government - especially in the area of online information, legally limiting the amount of taxes you pay on your online income, and protecting your business against lawsuits are just a few of the ways an offshore corporation or IBC can benefit the internet marketer.
Properly planned and executed, forming an offshore corporation need not be any more expensive or time consuming than forming a corporation within your own borders. Be sure to deal with a legitimate and established firm when establishing your IBC, make sure your asset protection needs are being met and that all of your questions are answered.
3. Offshore Bank Accounts
Again, keeping with the theme of protecting the internet marketer's wealth from both lawsuits and privacy invasion, the offshore bank account will also help address these issues.
Most companies that offer offshore incorporation will also help you set up an offshore bank account. Choose a country where information privacy laws are respected and enforced, and preferably keep the account in non-US funds. The acccounts are usually offered with an international debit card, so you can access your funds from ATMs around the globe.
4. Offshore Merchant Accounts
Of particular interest to those who create their income online is the option of establishing an offshore merchant account for handling all of your credit card transactions.
Besides addressing privacy issues, an offshore merchant account may be more suitable for those offering items, information, or subscriptions for sale online that are more difficult to procure a domestic merchant account for. These include higher risk services such as you might find in the adult website or online gambling arenas.
5. Offshore Webhosting
Although often considered home to the worst internet has to offer, such as spammers and hackers, offshore webhosting certainly has its place for legitimate online marketers and should not be dismissed outright.
Few would disagree that new internet laws, especially those related to spam are having an adverse affect on those it should least be harming. On top of that, the privacy invasion allowed by legislation such as the Patriot Act further increase the need for protecting your online information outside the borders of the USA.
Yes there are plenty of scam artists in the offshore webhosting arena. Do your research though, and you will find secure, well-staffed offshore webhosting operations with high-uptime, fast connections, good support and reasonable prices to suit your needs.
With all the new laws that allow for invasion of your privacy, including your financial information, combined with the fact that the USA is one of the most lawsuit prone countries in the world, every internet marketer and individual doing business online owes it to themselves to at least consider how going offshore can benefit you and your business.
James Allen is the creator of GatesToWealth.com, a website which introduces tools of offshore asset protection and wealth generation. To learn more about going offshore and to subscribe to "Mind the Beach" the newsletter of offshore living and lifestyles, swing on by:
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