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Differences Between an Offshore Trust and Foundation

After an investor develops a business idea, the next step is to bring that idea to life to earn profits from business operations. One of the most crucial things that are supposed to be considered before executing the idea is company and jurisdiction for the company's registration.

Under various jurisdictions, various laws that govern that particular country usually keep companies defined and possible to be incorporated. Aligning your business idea with the type of company and jurisdiction should be the priority for any investor.

As offshoring has become more popular, various countries have begun constructing their laws to be as ambitious as possible and making the requirements to establish and maintain these entities as easy as they can be. After choosing a particular type of entity, offshore company registration can be done.

As expected, wealthy individuals and companies have begun choosing countries with the most attractive and convenient laws. Though they differ in explanation, there are many correlations between the two corporate entities as they share many offshore benefits, financial services, and management structures.

What is an Offshore Trust?

An Offshore Trust formed to place assets of property ownership onto the name of a trustee, who holds it to gain its intended beneficiaries. An Offshore Trust allows for a piece of property owned by one party for the gain of another.

 A foreign Trust is the best offshore format for asset protection as it shields the beneficiary from the assets placed in the Trust, keeping the structure at arm's length. Trusts are entities set up under common law to hold assets for beneficial parties by an individual or group of people to be administered by a trustee in the country of agreement.

To know more about an offshore trust, you can refer to our website; this will help you ascertain whether this could be the correct choice for your business.

Different Types of Trusts

There is a subtle difference between each name, and it has more to do with the specifics of the Trust itself, the corporate laws around the entity, and the jurisdiction rather than the name or title used. A Trust can refer as:

  • Foreign Trust
  • Offshore Trust
  • Private Trust
  • International Trust
  • Non-Resident Trust

While these all can have a degree of variance, they all are distinct from a domestic trust, as they are all meant to form a non-resident entity in a country other than one's primary country of residence. There are several jurisdictions for opening a trust company; choose the one that best suits your purposes.

What is an Offshore Foundation?

Offshore Foundations are civil law entities like the common law Trust and work along much the same lines as a Trust. An Offshore Foundation is used for several activities, including personal, commercial, or charitable purposes. However, its modern use has been associated with its tax savings benefits, estate planning, and wealth protection. A Foundation has a coincidence of a regular corporation and the asset protection features of Trust. It also benefits from being free from all local taxation if it does not conduct any transactions or business locally.

Different Types of Foundations

There are various types of foundations, each with specific uses and functions. Every kind of Foundation can overlap in its methods and activities, whether it is used domestically or internationally. Offshore Foundations are not widely known corporate structures, which has allowed them to exist without scrutiny, such as offshore trusts of Corporations.

  • Private Foundations
  • Family Foundation
  • Community Foundation
  • Charitable Foundation
  • Public Foundations
  • Corporate Foundation

Differences Between a Trust and Foundation

Some fundamental differences should point out. There are subtle differences, and they largely depend upon the type of Trust and Foundation and the structure's location.


  • It does not need to be registered
  • Trust deed is not public, and it can be confidential
  • Split between ownership of assets and assets itself
  • Assets are to place in the Trust
  • The Trust is not a legal entity, and so rights fall upon the trustees


  • It needs to be registered to exist
  • Foundation itself owns the assets
  • Does not need assets to place in Foundation
  • Foundation can sue and can be sued in its name
  • Foundation Charter is public

Trust vs. Foundation Main Differences


A three-party relation where one party, we call a grantor, settlor, or trustor, has another party "trustee" hold assets for the gain of another party, we call the "beneficiaries." Depending on the trust purpose, one party can hold one or more of the three roles.

A foundation is a non-profit organization, usually gives support to others directly or to other charities. Some foundations engage in other activities besides grantmaking.

Legal Origin

The legal origin of a trust is the Common law used in England, whereas the legal guidelines of a foundation were originated through the Civil Law in Europe.

Who Originates the Organization?

A trust is started by The settlor (Trustor), and a founder creates a foundation.

Founding Document

The document that sustains a trust's existence is a Trust deed, and the same for a foundation is known as a Charter.


A Trustee manages a trust, whereas a Board of Directors manages a foundation.

Board of Directors

Ownership Type

In a trust, ownership is usually guided by beneficial interest, whereas a foundation has no owners.

How Assets are Titled

Assets of both Trust and Foundation are usually registered under the name of the organization.

Common Types

  • Asset protection, both offshore and domestic
  • Estate planning
  • Real estate
  • Personal property
  • Charitable
  • Special needs for those with disabilities
  • Independent (Usually funded by individual or family)
  • Funded by a corporation but is a separate legal entity.

The Benefits of Offshore Trusts and Foundations

The benefits of having offshore Trusts can look from two different perspectives: preventing liabilities and protecting assets. An offshore Trust protects and even increases assets through the following:

  • International Diversification
  • Reduced taxes
  • Privacy and flexibility
  • Business opportunities
  • Sustainability

some of the benefits of having offshore Foundations are the following:

  • Barriers to Entry
  • The Ability to Build and Accumulate Capital
  • Business Restrictions

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