Elena Smirnov-Otis

About Elena

Elena Smirnov-Otis: Principal  of the Global Asset Protection Solutions LLC (GAPS LLC).  Russia-born, Elena has been working in the financial services industry in the U.S. since 1999. Her professional practice includes developing sophisticated, tailor-made solutions for individuals, families, business owners, and trusts in the areas of advanced estate planning, business planning, charitable giving, and tax efficient asset management, with a strong focus on protection from risk. Elena and her associates specialize in advanced life-insurance-based strategies for global families and businesses. 

Areas of practice

  • Wealth Management
  • Other Consultancy


I am an Asset-Protection-Focused Financial Planner and International Life Insurance Practitioner. I specialize in Cross-Border Financial Planning, and specifically in Foreign Life Insurance and Life Insurance in Foreign Trusts. My associates and I help our clients - people with significant wealth, global families, businesses, trusts, and individuals - to protect and transfer wealth across borders, across generations. 

If you work with US clients that have international activities, work with inbound immigrants or expats, with foreign investors, with multi-generational multi-jurisdictional families and trusts, with international businesses -  asset protection and tax mitigation is our focus.  Let's talk!

We are country-neutral. Our planning recommendations are country-specific.

I can help with

U.S. and U.S.-compliant (offshore) life insurance for foreign investors;

"Pre-arrival" tax planning for permanent and temporary immigration;

Private placement life insurance and private placement variable annuities arrangements;

Life insurance solutions for UNI and accumulation distribution problem in foreign non-grantor trusts with U.S. beneficiaries;

Succession, deferred compensation, and supplemental retirement planning for owners and executives of multinational businesses;

Education / Training

Accredited Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP®)  www.STEP.org 

Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), American College, Bryn Mawr, PA, USA

Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) , American College, Bryn Mawr, PA, USA

Securities Series 7, 6, 63, 65 Licensed.

MBA, Finance, Moscow Academy of Management, Moscow, Russia

BS, Mechanical Engineering, Moscow Academy of Management, Moscow, Russia

1996 Visiting Science Fellow, Stanford University, Stanford, USA


  1. In addition to providing specialty advice in the area of advanced life insurance, our firm can serve in a consultancy capacity for our clients to assess, implement, and coordinate strategies recommended by other advanced planning specialists. In the world of increased global financial information transparency and fast moving changes in taxes, laws, and regulations, the need for integrated and timely advice has never been more urgent. Please let us know if you have planning projects in mind where we may assist you. We will be delighted to work with you.

    While we are located in California, USA, we work with clients across the US and around the world. Our business hours are 8:30 a.m.– 5 p.m. Pacific Time. 


  • Russian - Russia