We are a licensed Guatemala law firm specializing in Asset Protection, Offshore Bank Accounts in Panama, Belize, Saint Vincent Grenadines, and Guatemala, Formation of Panama Corporations and Foundations, Panama Real Estate and Immigration, Signatory Services and Trust Agreement Banking. You have attorney client privilege in all your dealings with us including phone calls, chats and email. We do care enough to offer several ways of communicating with us securely. We can represent you, defend you and protect your assets along with your right to privacy. We could not reveal anything about you or your affairs without your specific permission. Click on the about us tab of our website to see our professional law licenses. If you see a website that appears to look like a law firm but does not have the names of the lawyers or any license number for the law firm something is not right especially if the firm name does not say Law Firm, or Lawyer. As a client of Panama Legal, S.A. you will have a lawyer assigned to you and you can call that lawyer and ask questions anytime. If you inquire of us by email, phone, Yahoo Messenger, or Skype you will talk to a live person and get answers. We answer all email fast.
If you acquire an offshore corporation, offshore trust, offshore foundation or an offshore bank account from a non-law firm, they could freely reveal your confidential information which they collect from you like name, address, passport, name of corporation, bank account information etc. without any statutory penalties. In other words you do not have the benefit of attorney client privilege. Some of these corporate resale agents in other countries say they have some sort of offshore banking or financial privacy protections but it is nothing like attorney client privilege. If you deal with an entity in Panama that is not a law firm, they must obtain the corporation or foundation through a law firm (they are not the law firm) then your attorney client privilege is already defeated since this non-lawyer entity knows all about you, your identity and your corporation and/or foundation and maybe even your bank account information. So if you do not see the licenses of the lawyers on the web site watch out.
Your Problems and Your Law Firm – Is your law firm knowledgeable and able to understand the problems of the judicial system in your home country that led you to read this page? Do they really understand what you are up against? Do they know enough to be creative in their asset protection solutions or is it always going to be one of two or three canned solutions? Are they offering you good secure jurisdictions or just jurisdictions where they can obtain the products?
Home Country Asset Protection Challenges – We understand the legal and judicial system in North America, Central America, South America and Europe and that is why our solutions will protect and preserve your assets while remaining out of the reach of your potential financial enemies while allowing the assets to grow and keep pace with inflation and then some. We also operate in Guatemala so we can structure two or even three country solutions to hold up against any sort of financial attack by your financial enemies whoever they may be or where ever they may be. Guatemala has extremely protective asset protection laws and practices. So do feel free to ask us questions by phone, chat, messenger or email to see if you are comfortable with us and if we have a good grasp of the legal problems you are concerned about that motivated you to visit this website.
Investigating Your Law Firm – You can check the law licenses etc but the only reliable way to know that the Law Firm is real and solid is to go there and visit the law firm. See the offices; meet some of the lawyers and staff. See how many files they have, are they busy, is the phone ringing, are messengers coming and going and so forth. You need to evaluate if they are in business and likely to be in business someyears down the road.
We welcome cautious clients anytime and we understand it is your hard earned money you are trying to protect. Regarding the banks we do not want you trying to sleep at night worrying about whether or not you made the right choice, come check us out and the banks in person. If you can’t come, we can still get everything done for you and take great care with your asset protection structure. Rest assured we have thoroughly investigated the banks.
We can arrange an English-speaking driver to meet your flight with a sign with our law firm name and your name. We can also arrange corporate rates at a nice comfortable 3.5 Star hotel in a 5 star neighborhood (El Cangrejo). The hotel rate is $70 a day. There are numerous airlines flying here and we even have direct flights from Europe and North America. We do ask you to give us 48 hours in the country if we are setting up banking and stock brokerage accounts.
Investigating Your Offshore Bank – We can get you a Panama Bank Account with Online banking WITHOUT you having to come to Panama but you are perfectly welcome to come and check out the bank. We can do the same with Belize, Saint Vincent Grenadines and Guatemala. We also have no name ATM cards good in ATM machines around the world. These ATM cards come in a folder with the pin number and you can just pick one out of a stack and leave with it. No chance of anything being embedded in the magnetic strip. No ID is given to the card operators.
The best way to investigate your bank is to come here and let us take you in to meet the bankers. You will see a large hi-rise building with the banks name on it, a lobby with perhaps 80 people in it counting staff and clients. You will sit down and have a nice interview with a bank representative who will answer your questions including if there are going to be any signatories on the account you do not know about (never happen with us) or what happens if the nominees try to add a signatory to the account (never once happened with us).
Panama has 150 banks. Perhaps 12 will open up an account for a foreigner not living here. Of that 12, four will ask you to sign documents waiving bank secrecy and in some cases allowing the bank to report to your home country tax authorities. We do not use any of these banks at all. There are banks operating in Panama only. Most of our clients have accounts in the largest bank in Panama.
If there is a problem (hasnt been one since the Americans left in 2000) the other banks in the other countries using the same name will step in and shore up the Panama Bank which is a separate Panama Banking Corporation using the same name. They have to save the name worldwide. Since offshore banks do not have insurance this is the protection we provide for our clients. The International banks we use typically have $25-$75 Billion in assets. The Panama bank is using a name used in other countries but is a separate Panama Banking Corporation under Panama Bank Secrecy Laws. You could sue the bank and the executives if they violated the bank secrecy laws of Panama and the banks have deep pockets and the punitive damages would make you and your family smile for many generations to come. The executives could also go to jail. Rest assured the Toronto or London banks using the same name are not going to be able to access your banking records in Panama and turn them over under some court order. There is a legal separation preventing this from happening. We have a massive amount of clients with the largest Panama bank and never had one client have their bank secrecy violated ever.
Now you can get up to 4.25% interest on five-year deposits in USD, 4% on two year deposits (substantial amounts only please). Short-term rates run around 2%, depending on term and amount of deposit. Rates change and fluctuate from time to time and we have been known to get aggressive in negotiating with the banks you are our client not them!
The national currency in Panama is the US dollar but Euro accounts and Pound Sterling Accounts are available as well. We only open Panama bank accounts for Panama corporations or foundations that we formed. If we did not form the entity we need to shift it over to us as the resident agent and use our nominees. If you have a corporate or foundation bank account you can add in a personal bank account if the signatories are the same at the same bank.
For more details read our sections on Panama Banking, Guatemala Banking, Belize Banking and Saint Vincent Grenadines banking. If you require more privacy & security read our section on Guatemala Banking using international trust agreement signatory service banking.
Panama Stock Brokers – We can get your Panama Corporation or Private Interest Foundation an account with a Panama Stock Broker. You can trade the markets in many countries around the world. They do offer Forex and of course margin accounts. The accounts can be operated online or using a live broker. There are no discount brokers in the offshore world because there is no capital gains tax. If you are a substantial account the rates will approximate that of a discount broker. We can however get you a stock brokerage account with a Panama Bank that has 75 Billion in assets. Panama secrecy laws similar to bank secrecy laws apply to stock brokerage accounts in Panama. There are ways to transfer stocks from another country to Panama stockbrokers. It is not simple. You cannot transfer stocks from a personal name to a corporate name.
Real Estate and Lawyers – In your home country are you in the habit of dealing with law firms that sell real estate? Of course not! Our law firm does not sell real estate; we are a professional law firm. We represent clients in their real estate purchases, sales and negotiations. We feel it would be a conflict of interest to sell real estate and represent clients at the same time. In order to sell real estate in Panama one must have a real estate license, a law license is not the correct licensure. Professional law firms in Panama are not in the habit of doubling as real estate sales agencies. If you are dealing with a real estate company offering you free or deep discount services be aware that there is a conflict of interest. They make their money selling real estate, not giving away legal goods and services. If the lawyer doesn’t make sure the deals close no matter what, he will quickly be replaced with another lawyer who does make sure the deals all close.
Sometimes clients find out they got a free corporation with their real estate purchase but the renewal fees are double what most firms charge (we charge $695 per year starting in year two and we hear fees of $1200 – $1500 on these real estate corporation freebie deals). Real Estate brokers may refer you to a law firm or lawyer. Again run the other way. You are one client and the real estate agency represents many clients to come. Who is the lawyer more worried about you or the next 25 clients the realtor is sending over this year? There is a conflict of interest and it is against your best interests. Go get your own independent lawyer and avoid legal services or legal service referrals from a real estate company. That free corporation may cost you a lot more in the long run. Always have an independent lawyer read any agreement before you sign it or give anyone any money for real estate. We are well aware of the horror stories having handled some of them ourselves when the client came to us after he already did the damage. Please seek out us or another lawyer who is competent to review anything you sign before you pay anything. The laws here are not the same as they are in your home country.
Why use Panama for Asset Protection? – Panama is currently replacing Switzerland for offshore banking and asset protection. Panama is also the number one retirement haven in the world and it is also a tax haven. Panama does not tax offshore-derived income, capital gains, bank interest, stock market trading profits, etc. Panama has no tax treaties of any sort including information sharing with any country. Panama is one of only two offshore jurisdictions tax haven jurisdictions (Guatemala is the other one see our Guatemala section where we have an affiliate Law Firm) with truly anonymous corporations, anonymous foundations, strong bank secrecy, strong attorney client privilege and no tax treaties with any country of any sort. We can use anonymous corporations and foundation to bank in Belize and Saint Vincent Grenadines as well.
Panama actually requires all corporations to be formed by a lawyer to protect the privacy of their 400,000 corporations. Panama cares about privacy, bank secrecy and asset protection. Twenty percent (approximately) of the Panama work force is employed by the banks and related services. With an unemployment rate of 8.5% Panama is not going to do anything to change this. Recently Germany pushed Lichtenstein around and illegally obtained a CD of customer records from a bank owned by the Lichtenstein royal family. So what is Germany tried this illegal act with Panama? And then I ask you how long will it take to buy a Mercedes, BMW or Volkswagen when they cannot ship them using the Panama Canal? Lichtenstein is a small country and had no ability to fight back. Now UBS Bank in Switzerland is under attack mostly from the USA. For sure a few individuals will be given over but nothing like what the Americans are asking for. This has already caused people to leave Switzerland for asset protection and we are getting the inquiries now. UBS has since made a decision to close the accounts of all Americans.
Panama has no hurricanes, no earthquakes, no active volcanoes and no tsunamis, which is why the Panama Canal was built here. So you do not have to worry about being unable to contact your bank by Internet or telephone because a storm just passed over the island. Since we are in Panama we can and will represent any of clients who need legal representation in Panama with affordable rates ($150.00 hour). We are reachable by phone and email seven days a week and of course all communications with us are privileged communications between attorney and client. Always feel free to ask us questions by phone or email.
Panama Anonymous Bearer Share Corporation – Such anonymous corporations are called by this term in Spanish – Sociedad Anonima, abbreviated as S.A. These corporations have no registry or database into which are entered the names of the owners of the corporation. Ownership is based on who has the printed stock certificate called bearer shares. The corporation shares are bearer instruments. The share certificates can be made out in blank or with a name. A natural person can own the corporate shares as well as an unnatural person such as another corporation or foundation. Panama corporations can also own shares of corporations from other countries. Whoever owns the share certificates owns the corporation. The Panama Government does not even know who owns a corporation. There is no requirement to report changes of ownership of any bearer shares to any entity.
The share certificates can be kept anywhere in the world. The corporate books and records can be kept anywhere in the world. There is no paid in capital requirement. There is no income tax in Panama on offshore-derived income. Transfers of ownership of the corporation in whole or in part do not have to be reported. The Panama government does not know who owns these bearer share corporations. With a Panama bearer share corporation, wires moving through the wire system are not associated with any natural persons since no one can look into a database and see who owns the corporation. The name of the signatory on the bank account never appears in any incoming or outgoing wire, just the corporation name.
The Panama bank records are covered by strong Panama bank secrecy. Various banks, correspondent banks, national banks and governments monitor all wires. All these entities can learn from the wires going to or from your Panama Corporation is the name of the corporation; no owners’ names come up in any database. It is like the old Swiss numbered bank accounts except a name of a corporation is used instead of a number, both just as anonymous.
Panama corporations can be formed in 2-3 days and we have ready to go shelf corporations in stock. Panama bearer share corporations can own real estate, stocks, bonds, cars, boats, planes, gold or other corporations anywhere in the world under Panama law, and are the best of the offshore corporations. Panama corporations are allowed to operate in Panama as well as in other countries. Offshore IBC companies are not allowed to operate in the country they were formed in. This sends a certain message doesn’t it. Panama Corporations are full companies with all the privileges, not limited offshore IBC formations that are not allowed to operate in the country they were formed in. Visit this page to check on name availability for your Panama Corporation.
Panama Private Interest Foundations – A Panama foundation has a number of advantages especially when it comes to asset protection. It is like a combination of a corporation, trust and a will. Foundations have no owner and no shares or stocks. The Panama foundation is anonymous. The foundation has beneficiary instructions that are kept secret. The beneficiary instructions state how assets are to be dealt with in the event of your temporary or permanent incapacitation or if you are under serious distress or if you are deceased. Foundation assets including bank accounts are generally non- freezable pre-trial. No ex-parte injunctive relief here is likely to be awarded against a Panama foundation.
Panama Foundations can own corporations and real estate anywhere in the world under Panama law. Generally the foundation is used to own the corporation(s). This allows one to control an offshore corporation or many corporations and not have the disadvantages of owning them. You can control them through a power of attorney, signing on the Panama bank account and by controlling the foundation in a similar fashion. The foundation is the ultimate asset protection vehicle that has been used by the super wealthy for many years. The Panama foundation is modeled after the Lichtenstein foundation but is available at a fraction of its cost with much lower operating expenses as well. To see if a name for your Panama Foundation is available visit this page.
Panama Passports, Visas and Residency – Panama offers an instant Passport program and a number of exciting and affordable visa programs including the Panama Reforestation Visa Program, Panama Pensionado Program, Permanent Residency and Temporary Residency programs. Feel free to ask us about the various visa and immigration programs.
-Aurelia Masterson, http://www.panamalaw.org