Sooner or later, every successful entrepreneur or other high-net-worth individual becomes a target for greedy creditors. You might be surprised at just how clever those creditors can be when trying to figure out how much money they can try to get from you.
The easier it is for creditors to peer at your bank accounts and see what’s likely inside, the more aggressive they'll be pursuing that hard-earned cash.
So it's in your best interest to know how to legally hide bank accounts from creditors. Fortunately, there's nothing illegal or illicit about this – in fact, it's a smart approach for any high-net-worth individual who wants to protect their wealth for years to come.
What is “Hiding” Bank Accounts from Creditors?
Simply speaking, “hiding” a bank account from a creditor just means setting up a bank account in an area – in this case, a bank or jurisdiction – that creditors don’t know to look at.
If you’re a US citizen, the first thing that aggressive creditors will do is try to find out how many bank accounts you have based in the US at US banks. That way, they can use the legal system to go after your money if they claim you owe them debts for one reason or another.
But what if your creditors don't know about other bank accounts, such as a bank account in, say, France? The creditor would never think to go after it unless they had reason to believe you have an account in that country.
"Hiding" a bank account doesn't mean somehow making it invisible or participating in any strange financial wizardry to wipe records of the account away (which would, in many respects, indeed be illegal or verging on illegal). It just means having a bank account that's not in an obvious place or easy to find.
Why Would You Want to Hide a Bank Account from Creditors?
Frankly, because creditors can be highly aggressive and committed to getting your money.
Many creditors know that the legal system is on their side. If they know that you have money that they say you owe them, they will go after it again and again, using the full force of the US legal apparatus and infrastructure to their advantage.
Lots of high-net-worth individuals learn the hard way that it's better to store some or even most of your wealth using offshore vehicles, which are harder to reach for US-based creditors and other legal professionals.
In a broader sense, having your bank accounts in offshore jurisdictions can do wonders for legal protection, wealth diversification, and economic insulation all at the same time.
Can You Legally Hide a Bank Account from Creditors?
Absolutely. As we noted earlier, hiding a bank account doesn’t mean actually wiping away banking records or having some sort of black-market account that no government is aware of. A “hidden” bank account is still an account that at least one government knows about, and it’s still an official account from a licensed banking institution.
However, a hidden bank account might:
- Not be under your name. For instance, if you set up an offshore asset protection trust, the trust could have a bank account that stores the income for the trust, and you might receive distributions from that bank account/trust setup
- In a different jurisdiction than your own. As mentioned above, you might have a bank account in a country that your creditors don’t know about, so for all intents and purposes, it’s “hidden”
None of these activities are illegal in any sense of the word. They are smart strategies for any high-net-worth individual.
Setting up a bank account is only illegal if you do so improperly or if you do so with the intent of defrauding creditors. For instance, you can’t set up a bank account in an offshore jurisdiction, put money in it, then transfer ownership of the account to someone else a day before you are expected to pay a bill.
That will quickly see you get accused of fraudulent conveyance, which means making a transaction with the intent of defrauding a creditor or lawsuit plaintiff.
Now let’s look at what you should do to legally hide a bank account from creditors.
Step 1 – Identify the Ideal Account Jurisdiction
The first thing you need to do is identify the perfect offshore jurisdiction for your new bank account(s). The jurisdiction matters because it affects:
- What laws your bank account will be subject to
- Any case precedents that might impact the security or viability of your bank account
The second factor is particularly important. For example, if you create a bank account in an offshore jurisdiction, but that country has a long history of working with US courts and creditors, your bank account won’t exactly be secure or difficult to find.
This is partially why you should only try to create a hidden bank account through legal means with the assistance of knowledgeable advisors. At Dominion, for example, our experts have all the information and research necessary to determine the perfect jurisdiction for one or more of your bank accounts.
Step 2 – Get in Contact with the Bank
After that, you’ll need to contact the bank directly. Many of the best banks for so-called invisible accounts aren’t advertised online or on TV. In fact, you may only be able to get in touch with them through an introduction or through a shared contact.
Again, this is where working with Dominion becomes very useful. We have many industry connections with the best banks for offshore accounts and a variety of other wealth protection purposes. We’ll make introductions and get you connected to the perfect bang for your needs.
Note that, for these purposes, many banks require you to visit them in person at least once before you can open your account. Think of this as an initial consultation to make sure that all the parties involved in the arrangement are satisfied and will have their needs met.
Step 3 – Open the Bank Account
Provided that you meet the bank and everything goes smoothly, you can begin the process of opening your account. Like with opening an account anywhere else, this will involve providing some personal information, filling out paperwork, and so on. Depending on where your bank account is located and the details of your needs, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete.
Step 4 – Transfer Money Into the Account
Then, all that's left is to transfer your money into your new offshore bank account. If everything is done properly, the money you transfer into such an account will be practically untraceable by creditors and lawyers. This isn't to say it's not on record, of course!
Once again, a bank account your creditors can’t easily find is still totally legal. However, provided that you set it up with the right other instruments and steps, like connecting it to a trust and only allowing the trustee to fund the account, any money put into that account will be highly protected against lawsuits, creditor claims, and more.
Making Sure Your Strategy Succeeds
Though it is possible to set up a bank account such that your creditors can’t reach it, you’ll need to take certain steps to make sure your strategy succeeds.
Most of the time, this necessitates working with Dominion. You have your expertise and your niche where you are dominant, and we have ours.
You don’t need to do the weeks and months of research and legwork necessary to identify the ideal jurisdiction, banking partner, and other details for your overall wealth preservation plan. We can do it for you, freeing you to continue to make money, run your business, and otherwise be successful.
Even better, our experts can provide you with the legal counsel and advice you need to make the best decision for you, your family, and your finances.
You might not know, for example, whether you should set up just a bank account or you should also set up an offshore asset protection trust to safeguard real estate, stocks and bonds, and much more.
When you work with Dominion, we’ll help you set up a comprehensive, robust asset protection strategy. This strategy will help you not just keep your wealth safe, but also generate more wealth over time through smart investments.
In the long run, your money will be safe from all kinds of potential legal hazards that you might encounter in the future.
Contact Dominion Today
At the end of the day, only offshore bank accounts can be truly protected and practically invisible to creditors of all stripes. Dominion can help you set up those bank accounts and much more.
In fact, we’re well-equipped and ready to help you set up a dedicated offshore asset protection strategy, leveraging bank accounts, trusts, and other vehicles. With our assistance, you’ll be able to reserve not just your cash but a variety of other assets that might be targets of creditors, lawsuit plaintiffs, and other legal opponents. Get in touch with one of our representatives today.