Cook Island Trusts

Overview of a Cook Island Trust
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A Cook Islands Trust is the worlds leading international asset protection trust in the most secure offshore jurisdiction in the world. A Cook Island Trust is formed under the Cook Islands International Trusts Act and has the strongest asset protection case law history in the world. An offshore trust is for those individuals who would like to preserve their assets in times of uncertainty, against unknown political, economic, or legal forces.

A Cook Island Trust is the most effective means to create security, safe distance and confidentiality with your assets. Although the offshore financial sector has recently received a lot of scrutiny from foreign governments seeking to restrict the use of offshore services, the Cook Islands has been kept out of the limelight.

The long arm of foreign governments can not reach the Cook Island trusts, nor do the islands uphold foreign government court orders demanding account information or asset seizure.

A Cook Island Trust, explains, Jennifer A. Davis, chief executive of the Cook Islands Financial Services Development Authority, 'provide[s] a layer of insurance for something that cannot be insured—the unforeseeable'.

Cook Islands Trust Law

In amending the International Trusts Act in 1989, the Cook Islands were the first jurisdiction to include asset protection features in its trust legislation, a precedent that was soon to be copied by several other highly secure jurisdictions. The amendment was designed to protect clients from frivolous lawsuits at a time when no other jurisdictions in the world could. This piece of legislation remains the foremost asset protection amendment in the world, devised to protect the assets of the client under all manner of circumstances.

The Financial Supervisory Commission in the Cook Islands states that there are nearly 3,000 trusts, all of which offer full anonymity as well security from creditors and legal suits. The multi-layered trust structure gives both full protection and anonymity for both the beneficiaries and the settlor. Both offshore finance experts and us at agree that the Cook Islands have the strongest asset protection trusts in the world, a claim that no other jurisdiction can make.

Private Trustee Company: Trust & LLC Combination

We recommend that a Cook Islands offshore Trust be used in a combination package with a Cook Islands LLC or a Nevis LLC for maximum protection, flexibility, and to further diversify your trust’s structure.

While the LLC is held by the trust, the trustee (being an international entity or person, preferably located in the Cook Islands) holds the title.

The manager of the LLC—you—are able to have legal control over the LLC and the authority over any bank accounts that might be affiliated with it, in such a way that you have control of your assets, with provisions made for times of duress, which state that a trustee manages and protects the trust's assets. The Trustee then removes the individual as a manager from the LLC during times of legal duress whereby an offshore successor in a separate country which gives a second layer of protection instead of having them controlled in a single country.

Cook Islands Trust & Asset Protection

A Cook Islands Trust is the strongest asset protection vehicle currently in the market today. Using such a trust together with an LLC provides you a bulletproof asset protection plan that makes it virtually impossible to break open the trust. By using an LLC with a Trust gives you maximum leverage, as the LLC owns the assets or accounts. A Trustee is legally obliged to follow the trust deed and can not hand over assets of a foreign court. There are significant geographical and procedural barriers that prevent creditors from access Cook Islands Trusts. Even the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has tried twice to gain access to trust and has failed - twice.

The difference between a domestic trust and an offshore trust like the Cook Islands is that domestic trusts that are held in the country where you reside must abide by local court rulings and judgments. Offshore trusts on the other hand are bound by their own laws.

In countries such as Nevis and Cook Islands where there are strong asset protection laws protecting assets held within the country, then foreign judgments are non-enforceable and a local trustee legally can not hand over assets to foreign courts without breaking local Cook Island laws and liable to heavy penalties and fines an excess of 100,000USD. In order for a creditor to pursue his/her claim against the trust they must file a local claim against the trust in a local Cook Island court.

Advantages of a Cook Islands Trust

A Cook Islands Trust has many benefits which include: no taxes, confidentiality, asset protection and flexibility making it the most advantageous asset protection structure out there. Other advantages include:

  • Asset protection Investments are kept out of the reach of creditors
  • Court orders in foreign countries do not have jurisdiction nor can they have control over foreign citizens (your trustee)
  • Foreign governments have no authority over an international trust
  • In order to reach assets a creditor is forced to sue within the Cook Islands There are significant barriers to filing such claims
  • The Cook Islands are 'defendant friendly'—that is they protect clients who reside in potentially “creditor friendly” legal jurisdictions
  • Assets do not have to be physically located in the Cooks Islands
  • All business transactions may be conducted electronically
  • The strongest and most tested foundation for an international asset protection strategy
  • Many barriers to litigation created by the asset protection Trust Act
  • Custodian trustee permitted
  • Trust deeds are not publicly registered
  • Allows a variety of trust arrangements such as dynasty, purpose, and charitable trusts
  • Many various forms of investment opportunities
  • There is a two-year statute of limitation if a creditor is to bring any action against you or the trust
  • Flexible trust structure
  • Foreign bankruptcy is excluded
  • No requirements to file the trust deed with the Registrar

Top Uses

A Cook Islands Trust can be used to protect a variety of liquid and tangible assets, including but not limited to:

  • Investment portfolios
  • Intellectual property
  • Life assurance policies
  • Any type of financial asset

High-risk individuals that are in high-risk professions such as lawyers, doctors, physicians, business vendors, retirement and investment portfolios, particularly benefit from an Asset Protection Trust.

Individuals planning on creating an estate or family planning benefit from the fact that in the Cook Islands trusts exist in perpetuity rather than for a finite period of time, such as 20 years, as is the case for many jurisdictions that limit the life of the trust. This allows you to own and hand down the trust and its assets to future generations.

What Type Of Assets Can You Hold?

People that establish a cook islands trust can use it for many purposes including to hold bank accounts, brokerage accounts, investments, intellectual property, physical property, and pretty much any type of physical or nonphysical assets including company shares and real-estate.

  • Protecting assets in times of economic, political or economic uncertainty
  • Wealth preservation
  • Estate planning
  • Transfer of wealth through families
  • Diversifying assets
  • Minimizing or eliminating estate taxes
  • Lawsuit protection
  • Holding stock options
  • Retirement planning

Unique Attributes

Strict Fraudulent Conveyance

This is an important amendment that was enshrined within the amendment of the International Trust Act. The legislation outlines a solvency test, which would determine fraudulent conveyance, requiring a strict timeline and details so the creditor may pursue their claim. Similarly, the standard of proof required for fraudulent transfer is that of a criminal act, and must be 'beyond a reasonable doubt'.

Any claim of fraudulent transfer against the trust must be done within the statute of limitations which is a two-year period. This means that if the transfer happened longer than two years than the statute of limitations is passed and not claims can be brought forward to court.


A Cook Island trust has a name for itself as being the world's strongest asset protection trust in existence.  Get in touch to learn more about what a Cook Islands Trust can do for you.

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