The Cook Islands is widely recognised as the leading asset protection jurisdiction for international trust structures and provides extremely favourable conditions for companies and foundations. Just over 40 years ago Southpac worked with leading attorneys to develop the legislation which ensures the Cook Islands offers the gold standard in asset protection. Clients seeking high-level protection in a politically stable but geographically remote jurisdiction should consider the Cook Islands as the ideal place for their trust.
About the Cook Islands
• An independent country consisting of 15 islands in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean, almost directly south of Hawaii.
• Local currency is the New Zealand dollar.
• Political system is based on the English Westminster model with a Parliament, comprising 24 members led by the Prime Minister.
• Commonwealth nation with the Queen of England, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as the symbolic Head of State.
Advantages of Cook Islands
• Allegedly fraudulent dispositions to a Cook Islands international trust must be proved beyond reasonable doubt and within two years of the cause of action accruing.
• Assets settled into trust prior to cause of action are fully protected.
• The international company formation products offer some of the best advantages for asset protection and wealth planning making it one of the most sought-after jurisdictions in the world.
• Foreign judgments are not recognised.
• Stable economic environment and political system and well-respected judiciary.
• Trusts may be of perpetual duration.
• Maximum confidentiality and robust privacy provisions which make it an offence to disclose the information on an international trust or company or the identify any of its officers.
• Income generated from international trusts, international business corporations and limited liability companies is not subject to Cook Islands income tax.
• Legislation excludes forced heirship laws.
• Remote location can deter creditors.
The Cook Islands enjoys an international reputation as the premier jurisdiction for international trusts because of its balanced protective laws.
The general laws of the Cook Islands do not apply to limited liability companies, international companies, or international trusts established in the Cook Islands; they are governed by their own distinct laws enacted by Parliament and regulated by the Financial Supervisory Commission of the Cook Islands.
There are four Acts in the Cook Islands dealing with international trusts, companies and foundations:
• International Companies Act 1981-82
• International Trusts Act 1984
• Limited Liability Companies Act 2013
• Cook Islands International Trust
• Cook Islands Limited Liability Company (LLC)
• Cook Islands International Business Company (IBC)
• Cook Islands Foundation