If you have substantial liquid net worth that you would like to protect during your expatriation and afterwards, then an offshore trust may be the way to go, along with offshore bank accounts. This type of structure is more used for asset protection purposes than for tax efficiency during your lifetime, as many high tax countries now have legislation designed to make offshore trusts at best tax neutral. However, the asset protection advantages, and the enhanced privacy afforded by an offshore trust, are useful features. Trusts are still effective as a defence against inheritance tax

An offshore trust basically works by transferring control of your assets away from you (the settlor) to a custodian or trustee who will manage the trust in the best interests of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. This can be you or any other person, group of people or entity that you specify. It is normal for trustees to operate the trust in accordance with the wishes of the settlor.

There are different types of trusts for different purposes, and you need professional assistance in selecting the right type in the right jurisdiction. If your home tax regime does not yet have anti-avoidance legislation, and you hope to gain tax benefits from setting up a trust, then you will probably use a discretionary trust. In this case, the trustees have full control over the disposition of the trust income and assets. You can still be named as a beneficiary, however, and the trustees will still follow your wishes.