In order for you to have full advantage of your Foundation in terms
of asset protection, you need your Foundation established as a
"Private Interest Foundation", preferably domiciled in
Panama, Lichtenstein, or Luxembourg.
The other part of this is often ignored. You will find many
offers from Trustees who want to have you establish a Trust in
their own country! DON'T! The reason is that such a Trustee
would be subject to legislation in that country - and such
legislation could change very quickly - which would bring your
Trust in jeopardy, if, for instance, this government suddenly
decided that it wanted access to the files of your Trustee!
With your Trustee residing in a different country, any such
breach of your privacy would take the agreement of two
governments - out of which only one would have a vested
interest in doing it and the other most certainly would not.
Chances of this happening are zero.
Next, you want to pick Council members that really is doing nothing
else than taking care of other people's Foundations. You do not want
a Councilors who can afford to neglect your interests - you want
your Council members to put their entire future existence at stake for your Foundation!
With such a Council, you will know that your FOundation will be
taken as good care of as possible because you have a "win-win"
or a "lose-lose", never a possible "win-lose" where your
Council members could have advantages from your loss....
You should, of course, make sure that you can actually
check out who the council members are whom you get appointed and what kind of
reputation they have. You do not want to do this kind of
business with a "fly-by-night" kind of company...
Panama law is quite strict about this, so you get a lot of protection from that alone. But, when you get niominee Councilors appointed for you, they usually have a erlationship with the company through which you get the Fuondation set up, and that way, you should make sure that you get someone onboard who is realiable.
The set-up process takes place pretty much like the set-up of a corporation. You can expect it to take 2-4 weeks, once you found the people whom you want to have it done through.
You can deposit funds on the Foundation's account, and you can
have Council write and send checks from the account
to payees of your choice, except yourself! (If you
do, the money will be considered "taxable income" for you unless you
can prove otherwise to your taxman).
You communicate with your Council members per phone or fax or e-mail
or mail as you can arrange with them. In order for you to have Council take
any action on behalf of the Foundation, however, you must submit a
written "Letter of Wish" (LOW) to express your desire. This is for your protection as well as for teh Council members' protection. LOWs must always be submitted in a protecetd way, for instance by courier or encrypted e-mail. NEVER by phone or in an ordinary letter or e-mail!
Expect to pay $1,500-$2,000 in fees for setting up
your Foundation. Those fees will cover both the government filing fees, the Settlor's fees,
and the establishing company's marketing costs and overhead. For your
Foundation to be operational, you also need a bank account for it.
Just a simple account. All banks will require an opening
deposit on such an account - typically $200-500. This money
is really not part of the "cost" of your Foudnation, but it is, of
course, an extra personal expense you need to be prepared for.
You must also expect a yearly maintenance fee for your Foundation,
typically in the range of $800-1,200, covering both the government's yearly filing fee, payment to the Council members, and the admistrative fee to the local agent you will always need.