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A Will is a crucially important document that lets you decide what happens to your assets after your death. In order for it to be effective, it must be prepared in such a way that its interpretation is both objective and legally sound.  Neglecting this task, or simply putting it off indefinitely is an invitation to calamity upon your surviving family members and heirs. Without a properly prepared Will, your estate falls under the laws and local jurisdiction of the country in which you reside.  In many such cases (dying intestate), much of the inheritances are simply absorbed by the state, instead of going to the intended beneficiaries.

We at Chartercross will help you ensure that that does not happen.  We will make the process easy and understandable, every step of the way.  When you make arrangements for the future today, you can start living with the peace of mind knowing that your family will be taken care of.

 

Vist Chartecross Wills website

FATCA was written into US legislation as a part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, which requires individuals to declare any assets held in accounts outside of the United States, and foreign financial institutions (FFI) to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information on their American clients and accounts.

Its aim is to prevent tax evasion by US citizens who hold assets outside of the United States, by imposing stiff penalties upon FFI’s and individuals who do not comply with the new measures.

FATCA forces FFI’s around the globe to report the names, account numbers and asset holdings either directly to the IRS or to their respective local tax authorities, who in turn report this information to the IRS. Because of the all-encompassing nature of this new legislation, situations have arisen in some jurisdictions in which FATCA compliance would result in a violation of client privacy by the banking institution. Still, FATCA remains statutory and has gone into effect.

It has indeed been cause for much controversy and debate, but as of 2010 it is a legal obligation, which could affect you if you hold assets in accounts outside the US whose total combined value exceeds $50,000 and are:

- A US citizen residing either in the US or abroad

Or

- Married to a US citizen including those living outside the US

Or

-A holder of a US green card or Social Security number

Even as a legal resident or dual citizen of another country, so long as you meet any of the above criteria, FATCA still applies to you. All US citizens must file an income tax return with the IRS annually, regardless of country of residence or domicile. As of December 14, 2011 the form 8938 (reporting foreign assets) must also be filed along with the regular tax return, or a penalty of 40% will be incurred for non-compliance.

FFI’s that do not register with the IRS and become a “Participating Member” will be penalised by a 30% withholding tax from any and all income originating from the US. Individuals that fail to report their offshore assets in full to the IRS will have their foreign account deemed “recalcitrant” and all US-source income becomes subject to the same 30% withholding tax by the foreign institution in which the account is held, payable to the IRS.

Since the enactment of FATCA, there have been instances in which foreign banks have refused to open new accounts for US citizens, due to concerns over the new regulations. Many US expats have been scared out of the international investment market completely, or even opted to renounce their citizenship in order to keep their offshore investments out of reach of the IRS. There are other solutions. While it is necessary as an American citizen to remain compliant with US regulations, there are options available for those who seek the right advice, that will allow for their tax obligations to be upheld while allowing their offshore investments to remain lucrative. If you are a US citizen and hold assets offshore, Chartercross can help you find tax efficient alternatives to get the most out of your foreign investments.

For expatriates, the need for offshore banking might seem obvious. Regardless of which country you’ve chosen to reside in, you will need access to a local bank account in order to manage your basic expenses such as housing costs, shopping, and other day to day expenditures. However, as business becomes more globalised, and the sources of income vary with currency and geographical origin, it becomes an issue of not just convenience- but necessity to provide some means of consolidation. Since assets are subject to the taxes and regulations of the jurisdictions in which they are held, it makes sense to choose one from which the most benefit is derived.

Though the term “offshore banking” has historically carried with it a connotation of covert, under-the-table dealings or tax evasion, it is in fact simply having an account outside of the country you are living in.  It is not only both a legal and legitimate tool in modern finance, but also carries with it the following advantages:

- Access to politically and economically stable jurisdictions

Of no small significance is the effect of the political and economic conditions of the jurisdiction in which you your assets are held. Changes of political parties are often accompanied by changes in governmental attitudes toward fiscal policy, as well as sudden increases in taxes. Placing your assets into an offshore account can help to mitigate the negative impact of such economic and political risk.

- Tax efficiency

One key factor in choosing which jurisdiction in which to set up an account is its tax legislation. For example, in many jurisdictions the interest on the account is paid gross, with no tax deducted at source. It is the responsibility of the account holder to report income to their respective tax authorities.

- Flexibility and Choice

Expatriates and international business-people alike are no doubt familiar with the frustrating costs of currency conversion. Offshore banking can relieve some of this frustration by setting up accounts to receive payments in foreign currencies.

- Privacy and Protection

Keeping your assets in an offshore account can often provide protection from frivolous lawsuits, as the unrivalled degree of privacy makes it very difficult for outside entities and individuals to ascertain not only how much you have in the account, but whether any account exists at all.

These are but a few of the many benefits enjoyed by our clients. As account set-up requirements vary from country to country, it is of paramount importance that you have the correct and pertinent advice. Whether you have set down roots in a new country or continue to move around the world, Chartercross is here to help provide for you the profit and protection of Offshore Banking.

The Foreign Exchange (FOREX) market is the de-centralised 24 hour cash market in which pairs of currencies are traded against one another. With a daily turnover in excess of US $4 trillion, it is the largest and most liquid of the world’s financial markets.

While speculative trading is a large and important facet of the FOREX markets, it is certainly not the only instance in which one might require the services of currency exchange.

Transferring money overseas, offshore investments, and repatriation of foreign profits into local accounts are just a few examples. With the Chartercross Foreign Exchange Service you will enjoy the benefits of having a dedicated FOREX specialist looking after each transaction, as well as:

  • 100% Security with segregated accounts with Barclays Bank Plc
  • Authorised by the FSA
  • Forward/ Spot/ Stop/ Limit Order contracts
  • Ability to secure rates up to 2 years in advance
  • Free transfers of funds
  • Same day transfers on major currencies
  • Free registration
  • Minimum transfers from only £250
  • Rates up to 6% better than bank to bank transfer
  • Location in the UK

Whether you are making an international money transfer, or trading currency pairs for profit- we will give you the tools you need to make the most out of every FOREX transaction.

Setting up and maintaining an Offshore Company can seem a daunting task, but the professionals at Chartercross have the expertise and experience to help you navigate your way to a successful endeavour.

The incentives for forming a company offshore are many:

- Confidentiality

Conducting business via an offshore entity allows for a greater degree of privacy. Many jurisdictions allow for the omission of shareholder names, company officers and beneficial owners from public record or the incorporating documents.

- Minimisation of tax

Establishing a company in a low or zero tax jurisdictions can greatly reduce the impact of taxation on profits. While there may often be some form of tax liability in the country of residence/ business domicile, choosing the right jurisdiction can mean vast reductions in those liabilities, as compared to “onshore” rates in the UK.

- Cost reduction

Business overheads are often greatly reduced with the utilisation of virtual office services. Requirements on shareholders and directors are also minimised, allowing for much greater corporate flexibility.

- Less strict regulation

Different countries offer various levels of regulatory obligations. Choosing the appropriate territory in which to incorporate is key in setting up an offshore company.

- Protection of assets

Placing assets in an offshore company adds a layer of security between them and anyone seeking their seizure through litigation, or other objectionable means. By placing your personal assets into a separate legal entity you remove your name from their title, thus limiting exposure to loss through personal claim or lawsuit.

There are many factors to consider when deciding if and where to incorporate offshore.  For example, the local legislation, the economic and political stability of the jurisdiction, exchange controls and tax treaties, just to name a few.  Our unbiased advice is designed to help you manage risk, minimise your liabilities, and maximise your potential. Forming an offshore company is but one of the many options offered to you by Chartercross.

Setting up a trust is one of the cornerstones of financial conservation.  While it is an important process to carry out, it need not be intimidating. In the simplest sense, a trust is a relationship in which one party holds property for the benefit of another.  The “Settlor” is the creator of the trust. It is his or her property that is transferred into the trust, under the care of the “Trustee”. The Trustee becomes the legal owner of the property, and holds it for the “Beneficiary”. Although the Trustee is the owner of the property, all benefits and gains from the property are due to the Beneficiary. This process separates both the Settlor and the Beneficiary from legal ownership of the property, thereby conferring a number of advantages.

Benefits include:

- Privacy

Once a will is filed for probate it becomes a public court record.  For many families and individuals, this is undesirable. The terms of a trust on the other hand, remain private.

- Asset Protection

A properly written trust shields assets from creditors, as the trust can be made Bankruptcy Remote.  Protection of assets is one of the chief reasons for the creation of a trust.

- Estate Planning

A trust will ensure that children under 18 years old will receive assets appropriately once they have reached the contingency age (legal adulthood or as specified by the terms of the trust). The Trustee is bound to administer and protect assets until that time, and assist the Beneficiaries until they come of age.

- Tax Efficiency

Trusts are commonly used to minimise IHT, as the legal ownership of one’s assets is transferred to the Trustee, thereby reducing the taxable valuation of the estate.

- Spendthrift Protection

A trust provides supervision for the instances in which someone (a child for example) inherits more money than their level of maturity can handle. The trust protects them from their own inability to handle the responsibility of managing the assets.

- Charities

In common law, charities usually must take the form of a trust. This ensures that your philanthropic wishes are carried out as they were intended, as well as protecting the assets from unauthorized use.

Along with the many variable reasons for utilising a trust, are the many variable classes and types of trusts.  We will help you choose the option that is right for you. Protect your legacy. Make sure that the assets you have worked a lifetime for stay within your family. Chartercross is here to help.

Estate Planning is a subject often avoided, because it forces us to think about our own mortality. This can of course be a rather unsettling topic, but doesn’t have to be.  The purpose of Estate Planning is to protect our loved ones, and ensure our wishes are carried out in the manner of our choosing, when the inevitable time arrives. Ignoring this very important stage of financial planning can have devastating consequences for a family, and leave the fruits of a lifetime of work exposed to the risk of being whittled away by taxation.

Fortunately, with the proper planning IHT (the so-called “Voluntary Tax”) can be greatly reduced or even completely negated. We at Chartercross are here to guide you through this process, to make sure that your assets stay where they are supposed to- with your family and your loved ones.