If you lose a lawsuit in the U.S., everything you own personally can be taken from you to satisfy the judgment.
To assist your judgment creditor, the court may require you to answer questions, under oath, about your assets and their location. You would have no choice but to cooperate. Refusing to answer the questions would subject you to penalties (fines or imprisonment) for contempt of court. Giving false answers would subject you to prosecution for perjury.
Your foreign assets are not exempt. Assets you own personally anywhere are available to your judgment creditor, with the assistance of a U.S. court. The court will order you, under the threat of penalties for contempt of court, to return the property to the U.S. and use it to pay the judgment.
A Saving Distance
A Model Offshore Trust safeguards your assets by transferring legal ownership to the Trustee. No one can force you to give up assets you no longer directly possess.
The Trustee will have an obligation to use the transferred assets (the Trust Fund) exclusively for the members of the Beneficiary Class. And you, as Protector, will have broad authority to replace the Trustee if its performance is unsatisfactory. Thus you are assured that the Trust Fund will be used as you intended. (See Protecting The Protector for information about preventing your powers as Protector from being used against you will.)
But you will not have a direct power to remove assets from the Trust Fund — and thus will not possess any power that someone could force you to use against your will. This arrangement leaves you free to comply to the best of your ability with any order of a U.S. court and still be confident that the assets in your Model Offshore Trust are safe.
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