Participants in an International Trust

The easiest way to understand an international trust is through the roles of the four participants.

The Grantor is the person who starts the trust by transferring legal ownership of the assets he wants to protect. If you decide to establish an international trust, then you will be the Grantor.

The Beneficiaries are the people you designate as eligible to receive cash distributions and other benefits from the trust. Most likely, you will include yourself, your spouse and your children and further descendants. You can even include the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will be born after your lifetime. If you wish, you can include other relatives and friends. And you can include charities and religious organizations. You have complete freedom to decide who the Beneficiaries will be.

The Trustee is a non-U.S. financial institution (probably a bank or trust company) that accepts legal responsibility for administering your trust, for safeguarding the assets you transfer to it and for distributing those assets to the Beneficiaries (including you) when they are needed.

The Protector monitors the Trustee’s performance, advises the Trustee and gives the Trustee information about the needs and circumstances of the Beneficiaries. The Protector also has the power to replace the Trustee with another financial institution, if that ever becomes necessary. The purpose of naming a Protector for your trust is to make sure that the Trustee never loses sight of your intentions.

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