Cook Islands trust law is derived from the English common Law. With its International Trust Act 1984 as the cornerstone, through amendments to the Act in 1989, the Cook Islands is the first country to introduce asset protection laws and has since made itself the trust jurisdiction of choice for many high net worth individuals, their families and their professional advisors.

Key advantages in relation to the asset protection laws include:

  • Asset Protection – Protection of assets from creditors’ claims.

  • Two year statutory time limit, after that a creditor may not bring an action of fraudulent transfer or conveyance against a trust.

  • Non-recognition and non-enforcement of other foreign judgements.

  • Bankruptcy order from foreign jurisdictions is specifically excluded.

  • Higher than 'beyond a reasonable doubt' burden of proof.

  • No punitive damages.

Other features and benefits:

  • Tax Neutral – The trust is not subject to any taxation in the Cook Islands. The Settlor and Beneficiaries may however be subject to the tax laws in their home countries.

  • Perpetuity – Rule against perpetuities is abolished but a perpetuity period can be specified.

  • Registration – Each trust is registered to the Registrar operated by the Cook Islands FSC.

  • Secrecy – No requirement to file the trust instrument, or the names of the Settlor or Beneficiaries, with the Registrar.

  • Safety – Registration insulates the trust from general common law and Cook Islands statue law insofar as those laws are inconsistent with the International Trust Act.

  • Convenience – Registration is done through a licensed trustee company.

  • No Probate and No Forced Heirship – the trust cannot be defeated by the heirship rules in the settlor’s home jurisdiction

These features give clients an extra layer of protection against the unforeseeable.

Offshore Industry

  • In 1981, the Cook Islands offshore center was established.

  • In 1989, the Cook Islands became the first country to introduce asset protection laws.

  • Since then, the Cook Islands has been recognized as the world leader in asset protection trusts, safeguarding the assets of high net worth clients.

  • Trust companies provide a full range of trustee and corporate services. They also provide a wide array of administrative services to allow centralized and efficient operation of client structures.

  • The Cook Islands also offers International Companies, International Partnership, Limited Liability Companies, Foundations, banks and insurers in the offshore center.

  • There are also law firms, banks, accounting firms, and other ancillary service providers (including protector services) available to assist clients with their international financial structures.

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