Protecting your assets in offshore accounts


For many people, the fundamental purpose behind offshore accounts is to protect assets. Due to well-regulated offshore jurisdictions, offshore accounts are the safest and best way to protect your assets from the tax-man, creditors and inheritance taxes.

It is not uncommon to hear of governments seizing all expat-owned wealth, which has left family members with nothing and years of hard work gone in moments. In Dubai, asset protection is non-existent for expats. Due to the Islamic Sharia Law, there are several complications in how personal wealth is treated by the Government of Islamic nations.

To maintain your offshore accounts and asset protection, there isn't much you have to do and there is a lot of flexibility regarding doing this.

  • You only need one director or shareholder to form a company
  • Shareholders and directors may be the same person
  • The shareholders and directors can be either a normal person or a corporate body
  • There is no requirement to appoint local shareholders and directors
  • There is no requirement to have a resident secretary
  • Very flexible share and capital requirements - shares can be issued with or without a value
  • Shares may be issued in any recognizable currency or in more than one recognizable currency approved by the Registrar
  • Shares may be paid up in cash or through the transfer of other assets or for other considerations

A sound asset protection strategy can make family life more stress free, and ensures a smooth transition of assets to the beneficiaries. Offshoring has become a common tool used in estate planning by expats living and working in Dubai today.

Many of them have accumulated significant wealth over the years, and the last thing they want is to have that wealth erode away in expensive attorney and court fees through the probate / wealth transition phases.

Also as a UAE property investor, (as mentioned above) if you do not want to risk your property being governed by the set distribution structure of Muslim sharia law after your death, buying a property under the name of an off-shore company may avoid this.

Setting up an offshore company is the most certain method of bypassing Islamic Sharia law inheritance legislation. Shares in a company are not considered to be real property, so they pass under the UAE civil code restrictions regarding real property inheritance in the UAE.

Off shoring your assets to such jurisdictions as Dubai means more privacy, continued benefits of no taxation, no reporting and disclosure requirements, easy anytime access to your money through off shore banking, smooth transition of your property upon your death.

Asset protection strategies basically work by making the assets of an individual unavailable, or difficult to recover, (and hence potentially more unattractive) in the event of legal proceedings being taken against them by employees, clients, patients, litigious family members or other creditors.

Going Offshore: Reasons

More broadly, the reasons for going offshore and utilizing offshore companies for tax planning and offshore business include:

  • Free remittance of profits and capital
  • Access to top-rated debt history jurisdictions
  • Access to tax treaties
  • Security of property rights
  • Accessing low cost areas
  • Banking privacy
  • Availability of offshore experts
  • Access to foreign insurance and reinsurance
  • Enhanced privacy
  • Customs and duty exemptions
  • Exchange convertibility
  • Government cooperation
  • Fair treatment
  • Territorial taxation on foreign income
  • Fewer restrictions
  • Sanctity of contracts
  • Foreign investment inducements
  • Tested legal systems
  • Higher yields and returns
  • The availability of sophisticated banking facilities
  • Reduced taxation
  • The search for political stability

The easiest way to start an offshore business is to get a professional consulting company to help you with the initial setting up tasks. This means you can ensure that you're not wasting money, as you'll have professional advice and guidance. Through DBA Business Advisors, you can hire one of the best companies in Dubai to evaluate your requirements and help you at a very competitive price.

Written by Ashraf. Ashraf is a Senior Consultant with DBA Business Advisors and specializes in offshore asset protection for expatatriates.
Mobile: +971 50 4254544

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