Title says it all.

I am curious about whether properties (physical as well as "virtual estates" i.e. domain-names) in the name of one's lawyer would be a viable alternative to "proxy services" who, for all intents and purposes, become owners of that which is in their name. My thinking is that a lawyer, unlike a private company, is being paid to do as you ask, to keep one's holdings confidential. I am not talking about doing so to shield against breaking the law, just to maintain some semblance of privacy in the era of repealed civil liberties.

Edit: I am fine with making someone else the legal owner and/or operator, I would trust a lawyer that I know much more than online companies who've been known to sell such information even without any legal pressure.

  • 1
    The answer to this question would be different in different countries and even between different states in the United States. Ownership must be made a matter of public record in some jurisdictions but not others, and the law applicable to disclosure of domain-names is different yet again. In general, many U.S. states compel less disclosure than most jurisdictions outside the U.S. For example, it is rarely necessary to disclosure the owner of a corporation publicly in the U.S. but usually necessary to do so in Europe. Some tax havens require even less disclosure. – ohwilleke Nov 6 '16 at 23:02

I am not a lawyer.

Short answer is I believe no. Attorney/Client Privilege covers information that you share with your client. Nothing else. Example: They cannot hide the murder weapon, but if you were to tell them where it is, I believe they are not bound to reveal that location to anyone.

If you put your attorney's name as owner of your property, company or other investments, then you have in effect sold it to them.

One method that could achieve your privacy goal would be for your lawyer to form a company. The lawyer would act as Managing Director, or CEO or whatever but you would own all the shares. So long as you do not hold an executive position (thus you are not a director) then I believe in many juristictions, your share holding would only be listed as "other shareholders" and not by name.

Some tax declarations want to know if you have investments. No tax would become due until you were to profit from the investments (dividends or selling of shares). So you could just fill in and say you own the shares and nothing becomes due, nor is your name on any public register.

  • If you put your attorney's name as owner of your property, company or other investments, then you have in effect sold it to them. - maybe not sold, perhaps given, but that's the point of a trust, and why it's called a trust. You trust the person to whom you give ownership. That's why one of the best ways to shield assets is to put them in an offshore account in your friend's name. A friend you trust. – jqning Apr 10 '16 at 17:06
  • I thank you both for your comments, and yes I am aware that they become the owner. That doesn't bother me because (1) I am not planning on doing anything illegal and (2) it is a better alternative than a faceless proxy company, because a lawyer works for you. – Moscarda Apr 10 '16 at 17:15
  • @fiprojects, I don't think your murder weapon analogy fits here. Again, I am not talking about breaking any laws. Estate lawyers handle properties all the time, I am just curious if putting it in their name would protect my confidentiality. I understand this means they become the owner, making them legally responsible, so unless I did break the law with/on said property, they should have no reason to reveal my information, correct? – Moscarda Apr 10 '16 at 17:22
  • @Moscarda I would believe your last comment to be valid/correct but again, I am not a lawyer. New laws might contradict that thinking however - "OECD" (?) countries have agreed to share tax information on request with other countries within the group which implies fishing expeditions by authorities is possible, but unlikely (a member country would have to write to each other member, ask them "send us what ever you have on this person". That would be a headache to administer if done by every member. – fiprojects Apr 11 '16 at 11:52
  • And... Another thought... What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to keep your name and associated assets/investments away from Joe Publics eyes, or are you trying to avoid the attention of some government ? Your efforts might only protect you from the former, not the latter. – fiprojects Apr 11 '16 at 11:54

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