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With scant few exceptions, most of the books on "asset
protection" and "offshore planning" are scams. These
include the so-called "PT" or "Perpetual Traveler"
books. And even many of the seemingly legitimate books written by
credentialed U.S. practitioners suffer from some of the following
Between the time they go from the galley copy to the
shelves, most books in this area are out-of-date. Unlike
many areas of the law, this is a very quickly changing area
-- especially so because since 1996 the IRS has been cracking
down on abusive offshore structures and now comes out with new
notices and announcements on an almost monthly basis. What might
have been good law when the book was written may no longer be
by the time the book hits the shelf, and this could lead to
disasterous consequences. The same goes for asset protection
structures -- 1998 saw offshore trusts and family limited partnerships
penetrated with some regularity in some jurisdictions. And books
will never keep you abreast of the latest scams.
Most books are written by scam artists. Far
too many of the books in this area advocate, explicity or implicitly,
conduct which is criminally tax-evasive for U.S. citizens. The
authors of these books are typically ex-U.S. citizens who are
now listed as living in Canada, Panama, Costa Rica, etc., and
their books solicit you to pay big fees for the use of their
services. This is a huge scam, as the author will collect not
only a small royalty for the book, but also a big fee for advice
which will most likely put you in prison -- and these authors
are not accountable since they are offshore and not subject
to your lawsuit.
A Couple Of Good Books
There are two books which we will recommend for general reading
on this topic:
- The Offshore Money Book, by Arnold Cornez.
- It's Mine And You Can't Have It, by Robert V. Eberle.
- Various Books by Dr. Arnold Goldstein.
Believe it or not, there is actually a regular critic of offshore
books. This critic is Canadian Matt Blackman, whose critical book
reviews can be found at http://www.goldhaven.com
Floating around on the internet you will occasionally see an
advertisement of an allegedly "secret" Report 5599,
which in one fell swoop will tell you everything you need to know
about offshore planning -- and all for around $50.
Don't buy it. This report at best is seriously dated, meaning
that if it had any validity several years ago (which can be disputed),
it has now fallen so far out of date that you would be crazy to
rely on it.
Actually, if you look hard enough you can usually find a free
copy of Report 5599 posted somewhere on the internet. So, if you
have some historical interest in reading Report 5599, at least
save your money and find one of the free versions instead [please
DO NOT write us for current URLs for this report -- we don't keep
up with who is posting it at any given moment].
For anywhere from $15 in the family room at your local pancake
house, to $7,500 in some exotic locale such as Aruba, you can
attend seminars on "asset protection" and "offshore
planning" which promise dramatic tax savings by the use of
no-tax jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands or Nauru.
Wink-N-Nod Tax Evasion Seminars. In too
many seminars, the speakers will tell the crowd that everything
they do is legal, but also with a wink-and-nod tell you that
you can have a "private consultation" in the planner's
hotel room, whereby for a huge fee they will impart to you
the wisdom of quickly becoming wealthy by your placing your
money in a secret offshore bank or other structure which they
control (a/k/a "Black Hole")-- and almost always
this strategy requires you or your kids lying about the existence
or location of the money.
Bait-N-Switch Seminars. Quite a few estate
planners and insurance salesmen are giving "asset protection"
seminars which mention for maybe two or three minutes how
you can protect your assets from creditors, and the rest of
the time telling you how it is in your best interest to buy
a lot of life insurance to pay your estate taxes with (somehow
they don't seem to spend as much time telling you about the
commissions they will earn from their insurance companies).
Ditto for Living Trusts seminars which are painted as "asset
protection" or "estate planning" seminars,
although living trusts give you neither any degree of asset
protection or estate planning.
Old Law Seminars. There are a bunch of "one
trick pony" planners running around out there giving
seminars about "cure-all" structures which once
were good for some folks, but now after a couple of years
have been so undermined by the courts on the asset protection
side that they don't protect much for long, and by the IRS
on the tax side that they really don't save much in taxes.
An example of this, is the old Family Limited Partnership
With Limited Partnership Interests Held By Offshore Trust
structure, which a couple of years ago was pretty good, but
now is doddling ever quickly towards its grave.
The absolute WORST seminars you can go to are sponsored by the
various "Global Prosperity" and similar spin-off groups.
These seminars will give you zero real information, but are just
a big hype deal to sell Global Prosperity's completely bogus trust
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