Still, there is reason to pause before diving in. For starters, there isn't enough case law in the U.S. to judge whether the onshore trust will shield assets for those who don't actually live in the state where they were formed.
For another, there's a reason why other states haven't climbed on board. As a basic public policy, it makes little sense to encourage individuals to hide or keep out of reach assets from their creditors or others, such as angry ex-spouses.
And U.S. trusts don't necessarily make it impossible for creditors to go after assets. Where a creditor might be deterred by the expense and hassle of pursuing assets held offshore, that isn't necessarily the case at home.
In Nevada, for example, the law expressly forbids the funding of a trust to hinder, delay or defraud known creditors. If a creditor had a claim on the assets before they were transferred into the trust, the creditor has up to two and a half years to get a judgment in its favor. If the creditor's claim comes after the transfer of assets, it's out of luck after two years.
Of course, that is the case of offshore trusts, too, especially where a spouse is involved. In a recent New York court case, part of a husband's assets were offshore in trust in the Cook Islands--but only part, about half.
A judge ruled in the divorce that the husband could keep his assets in the Cook Islands, but he had to fork over the rest to his wife.
"Too many people try to play games with them," says Chris Riser, a lawyer at Riser Adkisson LLP. "Make them something they're not." Caveat emptor.