Cook Islands Foundation

About Cook Islands Foundation

Located northeast of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean, Cook Islands is an archipelago nation consisting of 15 major islands. The unspoiled beauty with white sandy beaches and exciting sea diving adventures attracts travelers around the world. Along with the booming tourism industry, Cook Islands offers a politically and economically stable environment known for its expertise in offshore services and highly regarded judicial system.

While the Cook Islands are well known as the most respected trust structure in the world, the foundation offers an appealing alternative. Governed by the Foundation Act of 2012, the Cook Islands Foundation is a legal vehicle integrating modern and innovative legislations which in turn offers a high degree of privacy, asset protection, and tax efficiency.

Prime Minister:
Mark Brown

Government:
Parliamentary democracy

Economy:
Fishing, tourism, and offshore financial services

Currency:
New Zealand Dollar and Cook Islands Dollar

Capital City:
Avarua District

Population:
Less than 20,000

Language:
English, Rarotongan, and Pukapukan language

Tax system:
Territorial Tax System

Members of:
Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States, Pacific Community and Pacific Islands Forum, United Nations Specialized Agencies, Commonwealth


Benefits

A private foundation is a unique legal structure that encompasses the benefits of a corporation as well as the asset protection features of a trust. It is a separate legal entity where the founder transfers the legal ownership of the assets to the foundation. The council manages the assets in accordance with the by-laws set by the founder while the enforcer controls and oversees the foundation. A unique feature of the foundation is that it does not have shareholders and instead lists beneficiaries who will then benefit from the assets held in the foundation.

With the strong asset protection legislation, the Cook Islands helps prevent litigation before it even begins and creditors will be faced with strong barriers to bring a legal dispute against the Cook Island Foundation:


Characteristics


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Process

1. While many offshore jurisdictions offer similar advantages and benefits, there is no one-jurisdiction-fits-all. Our advisors will discuss your needs and goals and ask you the right questions to help determine which jurisdictions are right for you.

2. Defining the objectives of the foundation will help establish which legal structure is right for you. Our advisors will assist in setting up the foundation charter in accordance with the founder´s wishes.

3. Choosing a local resident agent is key in establishing a well-defined foundation that adheres to local laws and offers the foundation the most protection and privacy. As this is an ongoing relationship, it is advisable to set up an offshore foundation with a reputable and trusted firm.

4. Each jurisdiction will have its own setup process and set of due diligence processes. Cook Islands requires clients to fulfill KYC (Know Your Client) by proving their identity with proof of address, as well as completing a simple form to provide the necessary information to draft the foundation instrument (charter) and regulations.

5. Once the required documentation is received, the provider can then file the foundation instrument, creating a legal entity in the public registry. The regulations of the foundation or letter of wishes are then privately issued.

6. The founder´s assets are transferred to the foundation thereby transferring legal ownership of the assets to the foundation.

7. The enforcer controls the foundation along with the assets and oversees the affairs of the foundation. The council manages and fulfills any duties in accordance with the by-laws of the foundation.

8. Expenses including annual maintenance fees as well as any tax expenses incurred by the assets must be paid and maintained. Financial statements are required to be maintained, though filing of the statements is not required.

While many offshore jurisdictions offer similar advantages and benefits, there is no one-jurisdiction-fits-all. Our advisors will discuss your needs and goals and ask you the right questions to help determine which jurisdictions are right for you.

Defining the objectives of the foundation will help establish which legal structure is right for you. Our advisors will assist in setting up the foundation charter in accordance with the founder´s wishes.

Choosing a local resident agent is key in establishing a well-defined foundation that adheres to local laws and offers the foundation the most protection and privacy. As this is an ongoing relationship, it is advisable to set up an offshore foundation with a reputable and trusted firm.

Each jurisdiction will have its own setup process and set of due diligence processes. Cook Islands requires clients to fulfill KYC (Know Your Client) by proving their identity with proof of address, as well as completing a simple form to provide the necessary information to draft the foundation instrument (charter) and regulations.

Once the required documentation is received, the provider can then file the foundation instrument, creating a legal entity in the public registry. The regulations of the foundation or letter of wishes are then privately issued.

The founder´s assets are transferred to the foundation thereby transferring legal ownership of the assets to the foundation.

The enforcer controls the foundation along with the assets and oversees the affairs of the foundation. The council manages and fulfills any duties in accordance with the by-laws of the foundation.

Expenses including annual maintenance fees as well as any tax expenses incurred by the assets must be paid and maintained. Financial statements are required to be maintained, though filing of the statements is not required.


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