I had an interesting discussion with an estate planning attorney about offshore annuities. Swiss annuities are a sophisticated offshore asset planning tool because the Swiss law protects these annuities from foreign creditors, including U.S. judgment creditors. The attorney informed me that the small country of Liechtenstein has annuity laws modeled after Swiss law, and in many ways, offers better asset protection annuities Apparently, if a U.S. debtor purchases a Swiss annuities he has limited options to direct the investment of money in the annuity. Swiss annuity monies must be managed by Swiss money managers; the client cannot choose an independent fund manager. Liechtenstein laws permit annuity owners to pick anyone they want to manage money invested through the annuity. Additionally, Liechtenstein law provides a one year statute of limitations for fraudulent conveyance which time is shorter than Swiss law.
On the other hand, Liechtenstein charges a 1% transaction fee for the purchase of their annuities. Switzerland waives any transaction fee.
There are few financial professions versed in the purchase of Swiss or Liechtenstein annuities. If you believe foreign annuities are a useful financial tool in your asset protection plan make sure your financial advisor is well-versed in all international annuity options.
Page last updated on May 22, 2020