The days when a trust or LLC could completely hide your identity are gone. Registered agents, trustees, and bankers are all required to know who is the “natural person” (human being) behind an entity. These “know your customer” laws require knowledge of who owns, or establishes, an entity.
Colin Ley is an asset protection attorney and the creator of the PREP Trust® and Better LLC™. He is also the co-founder of LayRoots (along with with partner in life & business – Shreya Ley)
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Hello, I am Colin Ley.
I am Shreya Ley.
We are the owners of LayRoots, which is an asset protection and estate planning law firm. Today Shreya…
Let’s talk about ultimate secrecy.
And why you can’t have it.
Not for you.
So we spoke with somebody who was interested in setting up asset protection trust, having this asset protection plan in which nobody involved knew who was behind the trust, its beneficiary, who was setting up the trust, what assets were in the trust. They wanted people to ask no questions.
And kind of like glance away from what was happening. And this is before my time, your time, our time in this industry. There was a time when you could do that, like when people just kind of looked the other way, they didn’t care who was behind the curtain.
Of different identities.
But things have changed, and I think the start of that was 911.
Mmm, that makes sense.
And the government passed a lot of laws, that basically required people…
To know their customer.
Yes. Those KYC regulations were put in place, and that made people, it made people accountable for knowing who they were setting up these entities for. They had to know basically that they weren’t helping terrorists, that they weren’t helping…
Launder money, commit crimes, so they had an obligation to figure out who the people are behind all of the entities. And that continues today, and there’s been other legislation as well, that just makes sure that people are sharing this information. Interesting enough, the United States was demanding this information from countries all around the world, yet they don’t really require as much for themselves. So the U.S. is still considered a black hole of sorts, for information. But anyway, getting off point.
But even if it is, and still some people need to know who is behind the curtain.
Like a bank is not going to allow you to open a bank account.
If they don’t know, have some like identifying information.
And I think when we’ve had calls from people, sometimes they don’t even want their local bank…
Knowing who they are. Or whatever bank they’re using, they don’t even want them to know who they are, they want to be completely anonymous and off the grid. Yep.
And if you have an independent trustee signing on to help with your trust, they’re going to need to know…
Who is involved as well.
Someone’s gonna need to know.
Everyone doesn’t need to know, but someone needs to know.
Yeah. And this doesn’t mean that your information needs to be plastered up on the internet somewhere…
For people to look up. But it means that the people who are involved, the bank accounts that are involved, people are going to need to know…
Who they’re dealing with.
Because they’re also going to be, the finger is going to be pointed at them, at some point, if something goes wrong. Yeah. And be like, who is this person? Who are you acting for? Why are you doing these things?
Yep. So if ultimate secrecy is what you’re after, if you’re looking to set up completely anonymous entities, that nobody knows about, not going to happen anymore.
Not in the U.S. Yeah.
Not anywhere where the entity would be useful.
Right, no stable government?
Yeah, so if there were places that did offer that, you know good luck openin’ a bank account in a more normal place.
You know those are the countries that end up on the black list of countries, and they don’t like to be on there, so…
Anyway, so you’re gonna have to open your doors a little bit to the people helping with your entities and your assets.
Thanks Shreya. See you next time.