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Register Non-UK Trust Online, Establish Non-UK Trust from £1,900

Establish an offshore trust or create an off-shore trust with online: Looking for a quality information & practical guidance regarding a new company formation, or how to start your own offshore trust, how to get your tax-free trust set-up and running, how to select the best type of an offshore trust form; and need a trust start-up advice? Need an offshore trust formation agent with the prompt service and expert advice? Are you looking to set-up trust in Anguilla, Belize, or BVI (British Virgin Islands)? Do you want to register your trust in Cyprus, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Mauritius, Nevis, or Panama or Seychelles? Have an idea for a business and want to start an trust now?

Off-Shore Trust Registration

ADVANTAGES

  • Free trust starting-up email support
  • Free professional advice via the phone
  • Free face-to face consultation at our office
Off-Shore Trust Start-Up

CONVENIENCE

  • Starting an off-shore trust
  • Pre setting-up support
  • Post start-up support & advice
Our Trusts Creation Packages
£1,900

NEXT YEAR FROM £900.00

1
option

The first option of the off-shore trust start-up in Belize is the fastest process with online offshore trust set-up, and printed documents as well.

The following benefits are included into this establishment of an offshore trust in Belize package:

    • The provision of a registered office address in Belize;
    • The provision of a local registered agent in Belize;
    • The top-notch bound copy of the trust deed.
£2,500

NEXT YEAR FROM £1,500

2
option

This off-shore trust start-up in Belize package is especially for clients, who are requiring create an off-shore trust with a registered address, local agent & a nominee trustee; bank account upon request.

This Belizean trust start-up offer includes everything in the first option, together with the advantages of:

  • The provision of a nominee trustee;
  • The signed trust declaration;
  • The signed letter from a nominee trustee;
  • Additional services are available.
£3,150

NEXT YEAR FROM £1,500

3
option

This is one of the most popular off-shore trust setting-up in Belize packages with bank account, as an additional option to the nominee trustee & registered office address in Belize.

This Belizean trust start-up offer includes the following:

  • The provision of a nominee trustee;
  • The signed trust declaration;
  • The signed letter from a nominee trustee;
  • The offshore bank account.
£3,260

NEXT YEAR FROM £1,500

4
option

This is our most comprehensive trust set-up in Belize package with all documents verified by solicitor or notary public & certified by the Apostilled stamp or Apostille seal affixed.

This Belizean trust establishment offer includes everything in the third option, plus:

  • The certification of all corporate documents, including a power of attorney, by solicitor or notary public & the final verification of all trust' documents by an Apostille seal;
  • Additional services are available.
£2,900

ANNUAL FEES FROM £2,200

1
option

The first option of the off-shore vista trust start-up in BVI is the fastest process with online offshore trust start-up, and printed documents as well.

The following benefits are included into this establishment of a vista trust in BVI package:

    • The provision of a registered office address in BVI;
    • The provision of a local registered agent in BVI;
    • The top-notch bound copy of the trust deed.
£3,500

ANNUAL FEES FROM £2,800

2
option

This vista trust start-up in BVI package is especially for clients, who are requiring setting-up a vista trust with a registered address, local agent & a nominee trustee; bank account upon request.

This BVI trust start-up offer includes everything in the first option, together with the advantages of:

  • The provision of a nominee trustee;
  • The signed trust declaration;
  • The signed letter from a nominee trustee;
  • Additional services are available.
£4,150

ANNUAL FEES FROM £2,800

3
option

This is one of the most popular vista trust set-up in BVI packages with offshore bank account, as an additional option to the nominee trustee & registered office address in BVI.

This BVI trust start-up offer includes the following:

  • The provision of a nominee trustee;
  • The signed trust declaration;
  • The signed letter from a nominee trustee;
  • The offshore bank account.
£4,260

ANNUAL FEES FROM £2,800

4
option

This is our most comprehensive trust set-up in BVI package with all documents verified by solicitor or notary public & certified by the Apostilled stamp or Apostille seal affixed.

This BVI trust start-up offer includes everything in the third option, plus:

  • The certification of all corporate documents, including a power of attorney, by solicitor or notary public & the final verification of all trust' documents by an Apostille seal;
  • Additional services are available.
£3,900

ANNUAL FEES FROM £3,000

1
option

The first option of discretionary trust start-up in BVI is the fastest process with online off-shore trust set-up, and printed documents as well.

The following benefits are included into this establishment of a discretionary trust in BVI package:

  • The provision of a registered office address in BVI;
  • The provision of a local registered agent in BVI;
  • The top-notch bound copy of the trust deed.
£4,500

ANNUAL FEES FROM £3,600

2
option

This discretionary trust start-up in BVI is especially for clients, who are requiring creating an off-shore trust with a registered address, local agent & nominee trustee; bank account upon request.

This BVI discretionary trust start-up offer includes everything in the first option, together with the advantages of:

  • The provision of a nominee trustee;
  • The signed trust declaration;
  • The signed letter from a nominee trustee;
  • Additional services are available.
£5,150

ANNUAL FEES FROM £3,600

3
option

This is one of the most popular discretionary trust set-up in BVI packages with bank account, as an additional option to the nominee trustee & registered office address in BVI.

This BVI trust start-up offer includes the following:

  • The provision of a nominee trustee;
  • The signed trust declaration;
  • The signed letter from a nominee trustee;
  • The offshore bank account.
£5,260

ANNUAL FEES FROM £3,600

4
option

This is our most comprehensive trust set-up in BVI package with all documents verified by solicitor or notary public & certified by the Apostille stamp/seal affixed.

This BVI trust set-up offer includes everything in the third option, plus:

  • The certification of all documents, including a power of attorney, by solicitor or notary public & the final verification of all trust' documents by an Apostille seal.
  • Additional services are available.
£1,900

NEXT YEAR FROM £900.00

1
option

The first option of the off-shore trust start-up in Seychelles is the fastest process with online offshore trust start-up, and printed documents as well.

The following benefits are included into this establishment of a offshore trust in Seychelles package:

    • The provision of a registered office address in Seychelles;
    • The provision of a local registered agent in Seychelles;
    • The top-notch bound copy of the trust deed.
£2,500

NEXT YEAR FROM £1,500

2
option

This trust set-up in Seychelles package is especially for clients, who are requiring setting-up an off-shore trust with a registered address, local agent & a nominee trustee; bank account upon request.

This Seychelles trust establishment offer includes everything in the first option, together with the advantages of:

  • The provision of a nominee trustee;
  • The signed trust declaration;
  • The signed letter from a nominee trustee;
  • Additional services are available.
£3,150

NEXT YEAR FROM £1,500

3
option

This is one of the most popular trust start-up in Seychelles packages with offshore bank account, as an additional option to the nominee trustee & registered office address in Belize.

This Seychelles trust establishment offer includes the following:

  • The provision of a nominee trustee;
  • The signed trust declaration;
  • The signed letter from a nominee trustee;
  • The offshore bank account.
£3,260

NEXT YEAR FROM £1,500

4
option

This is our most comprehensive trust set-up in Seychelles package with all documents verified by solicitor or notary public & certified by the Apostilled stamp or Apostille seal affixed.

This Seychelles trust start-up offer includes everything in the third option, plus:

  • The certification of all corporate documents, including a power of attorney, by solicitor or notary public & the final verification of all trust' documents by an Apostille seal;
  • Additional services are available.

Myth and Reality About Offshore Trust

Start-Up an Off-Shore Trust

Offshore jurisdictions are often associated with large corporations and millionaires, but are in fact extremely well suited for small and medium businesses and individuals. An offshore trust is formed in a foreign location and is therefore subject to the laws and regulations (or jurisdiction) of that location. The myth that offshore locations are completely unregulated and lawless is untrue; an offshore business is a normal business operating in a normal way; and is subject to many of the same types of laws and regulations as in any other location.

Coddan offers a comprehensive range of offshore trusts establishment solutions and a wide range of offshore post-registration services designed to support the efficient running of your business.

Properly devised, an offshore strategy can offer many advantages. You can legally decrease your tax burden, protect your assets, enjoy a high level of anonymity, and provide your company with a competitive advantage. The exact benefits available to you and your trust will depend greatly on nationality, location, entity type, and a host of other factors; it is for this reason that it is recommended that you seek professional advice before registering your trust.

The most widely promoted advantage of forming an offshore entity is the minimisation of one's tax burden. Although tax relief is an attractive advantage, there are many reasons why businesses and individuals choose to form an entity offshore: -

Anonymity

There are often sound, legitimate business reasons for an individual wishing to retain a level of anonymity. By carrying out transactions in the name of a private offshore company, the personal details of individuals can be kept off public records. Unfortunately, the anonymity offered by offshore trust structures has also attracted people wishing to conduct illegitimate business.

It is for this reason that the offshore industry has become more regulated than it was in the past. These new regulations often require banks and other institutions to examine company structures more closely. These new regulations do not pose a problem for those individuals acting legitimately, and do not hinder public anonymity.

Taxation

Using an offshore trust and an appropriate business structure, it is possible for a business to legally and significantly decrease its tax liability and thus increase its profits.

Simplicity

Except for a few heavily regulated industries (the banking and investment industries for example) many offshore jurisdictions make it relatively simple to set up and run a trust.

Reporting

Although this varies depending on the jurisdiction, the amount of information required by the Register in an offshore jurisdiction is generally small. This reduces the amount of time and resources a company needs to invest in the administration of the trust.

Asset Protection

Operating within an appropriate trust structure, it is possible to organise assets and transactions in such a way that they are protected from future liability. Moving assets offshore can be a wise commercial decision. This is also an important option for individuals, who can protect their personal or retirement savings from litigation.

Types of Offshore Trusts

Trusts are a very useful legal instrument. They serve a number of purposes, with different types of trust being used in a variety of circumstances. Trusts are particularly useful for inheritance planning; some trust types are best suited to inheritance tax mitigation, while others are best used for probate avoidance or other estate planning purposes. It is vital that you choose the right trust type in order to ensure that it is compliant with the law and that your wishes are carried out.

Constructive trust: unlike an express or implied trust, a constructive trust is not created by an agreement between a settlor and the trustee. A constructive trust is imposed by the law as an "equitable remedy". This generally occurs due to some wrongdoing, where the wrongdoer has acquired legal title to some property and cannot in good conscience be allowed to benefit from it. A constructive trust is, essentially, a legal fiction. For example, a court of equity recognizing a plaintiff's request for the equitable remedy of a constructive trust may decide that a constructive trust has been "raised" and simply order the person holding the assets to the person who rightfully should have them. The constructive trustee is not necessarily the person who is guilty of the wrongdoing, and in practice it is often a bank or similar organization.

Express trust: an express trust arises where a settlor deliberately and consciously decides to create a trust, over his or her assets, either now, or upon his or her later death. In these cases this will be achieved by signing a trust instrument, which will either be a will or a trust deed. Almost all trusts dealt with in the trust industry are of this type. They contrast with resulting and constructive trusts. The intention of the parties to create the trust must be shown clearly by their language or conduct. For an express trust to exist there must be certainty to the objects of the trust and the trust property. In the USA Statute of Frauds provisions require express trusts to be evidenced in writing if the trust property is above a certain value, or is real estate.

Fixed trust: in a fixed trust, the entitlement of the beneficiaries is fixed by the settlor. The trustee has little or no discretion. Common examples are:

  • A trust for a minor ("to x if she attains 21")
  • A life interest ("to pay the income to x for her lifetime") and
  • A remainder ("to pay the capital to y after the death of x")

Hybrid trust: a hybrid trust combines elements of both fixed and discretionary trusts. In a hybrid trust, the trustee must pay a certain amount of the trust property to each beneficiary fixed by the settlor. But the trustee has discretion as to how any remaining trust property, once these fixed amounts have been paid out, is to be paid to the beneficiaries.

Implied trust: an implied trust, as distinct from an express trust, is created where some of the legal requirements for an express trust are not met, but an intention on behalf of the parties to create a trust can be presumed to exist. A resulting trust may be deemed to be present where a trust instrument is not properly drafted and a portion of the equitable title has not been provided for. In such a case, the law may raise a resulting trust for the benefit of the grantor (the creator of the trust). In other words, the grantor may be deemed to be a beneficiary of the portion of the equitable title that was not properly provided for in the trust document.

Incentive trust: a trust that uses distributions from income or principal as an incentive to encourage or discourage certain behaviors on the part of the beneficiary. The term "incentive trust" is sometimes used to distinguish trusts that provide fixed conditions for access to trust funds from discretionary trusts that leave such decisions up to the trustee.

Irrevocable trust: in contrast to a revocable trust, an irrevocable trust is one in which the terms of the trust cannot be amended or revised until the terms or purposes of the trust have been completed. Although in rare cases, a court may change the terms of the trust due to unexpected changes in circumstances that make the trust uneconomical or unwieldy to administer, under normal circumstances an irrevocable trust cannot be changed by the trustee or the beneficiaries of the trust.

Private and public trusts: a private trust has one or more particular individuals as its beneficiary. By contrast, a public trust (also called a charitable trust) has some charitable end as its beneficiary. In order to qualify as a charitable trust, the trust must have as its object certain purposes such as alleviating poverty, providing education, carrying out some religious purpose, etc. The permissible objects are generally set out in legislation, but objects not explicitly set out may also be an object of a charitable trust, by analogy. Charitable trusts are entitled to special treatment under the law of trusts and also the law of taxation.

Protective trust: here the terminology is different between the UK and the USA: In the UK, a protective trust is a life interest which terminates on the happening of a specified event such as the bankruptcy of the beneficiary or any attempt by him to dispose of his interest. They have become comparatively rare.

Purpose trust: or, more accurately, non-charitable purpose trust (all charitable trusts are purpose trusts). Generally, the law does not permit non-charitable purpose trusts outside of certain anomalous exceptions which arose under the eighteenth century common law. Certain jurisdictions (principally, offshore jurisdictions) have enacted legislation validating non-charitable purpose trusts generally.

Resulting trust: a resulting trust is a form of implied trust which occurs where (1) a trust fails, wholly or in part, as a result of which the settlor becomes entitled to the assets; or (2) a voluntary payment is made by A to B in circumstances which do not suggest gifting. B becomes the resulting trustee of A's payment.

Revocable trust: a trust of this kind can be amended, altered or revoked by its settlor at any time, provided the settlor is not mentally incapacitated. Revocable trusts are becoming increasingly common in the United States as a substitute for a will to minimize administrative costs associated with probate and to provide centralized administration of a person's final affairs after death.

Secret trust: a post mortem trust constituted externally from a will but imposing obligations as a trustee on one, or more, legatees of a will.

Standby trust: the trust is empty at creation during life and the will transfers the property into the trust at death. This is a statutory trust.

Testamentary trust or will trust: a trust created in an individual's will is called a testamentary trust. Because a will can become effective only upon death, a testamentary trust is generally created at or following the date of the settlor's death.

Unit trust: a unit trust is a trust where the beneficiaries (called unit holders) each possess a certain share (called units) and can direct the trustee to pay money to them out of the trust property according to the number of units they possess. A unit trust is a vehicle for collective investment, rather than disposition, as the person who gives the property to the trustee is also the beneficiary.

The plethora of international laws and business strategies makes choosing a jurisdiction and trust structure an extremely complex decision. If you are unsure of the best course of action for your business, Coddan can advise you on the best location and type of offshore trust entity, and can tailor a solution to your needs.

If you wish to retain Coddan in a professional capacity, you can apply for an initial consultation appointment by following the link below.

Popular Locations for Offshore Trusts

The location of your trust formation can be as important as the type of company you choose to form. Different offshore jurisdictions tend to specialise in different types of offshore trusts, and some offshore centers actively target certain types of business by offering attractive incentives. Coddan can register a trust for you in many different locations, including:

  • Belize
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cyprus
  • Gibraltar
  • Guernsey
  • Hong Kong
  • Isle of Man
  • Jersey
  • Nevis
  • The Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Panama
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Seychelles Islands, and some other countries.

Offshore Post-Formation Services

Trusts require ongoing maintenance and must meet certain local reporting and statutory requirements, although these are generally less rigorous for offshore trusts, they still exist. There are additional difficulties for those who do not have a relationship with an offshore jurisdiction and are uninitiated to the law and practicalities of an offshore location.

In addition to providing offshore trust formations online, Coddan offers a host of services designed to support your business offshore. This comprehensive list of services includes: -

  • Nominee trustee service
  • Nominee administrator service
  • Commercial and investment banking introductions
  • Registered office service
  • Registered agent service
  • Management services
  • Registration of offshore shipping vessels
  • Administrative services
  • Accounting and book keeping services
  • Notary and apostille legalisation services

Choosing an Offshore Jurisdiction and Offshore Trust Structure

Incorporate an Offshore Trust

There are many variables which need to be considered in order to choose the best offshore solution. Broadly speaking, there are two obvious variables: location and type of a trust. These variables are, however, more interconnected than one might first suppose. Each offshore trust' location has its own law which regulates both the type of business entities which may be formed within the jurisdiction, and the specific structure and commitments of such entities.

In order to make the best choice, you must first clearly define the type of offshore business you conduct now, and may wish to conduct in the future, and your objectives for going offshore: different offshore structures work better for certain types of offshore trusts than others and the best structure and jurisdiction is contingent upon what you hope to achieve.

The eventual value of having an offshore trust will depend on the overall structure, and on the particular country or countries in which the owner resides. To optimise your results, it is generally preferable for the offshore trust to not be a controlled subsidiary of the main company; and it will normally be even better if the main settlor are not resident in the same country as the main company.

The offshore geographical location is also important. It may, in certain situations, be more important than the type of business entity you form. By forming an offshore trust entity you will also be forming a relationship with a place; sometime you may be required to visit there to open a bank account, and to conduct meetings. It is therefore important to consider whether it will be expensive to travel there, whether you would enjoy visiting or vacationing there, whether you will be able to communicate with the local community, whether there is sufficient infrastructure present to support your operation.

The Elements of a Typical Trust
The trust deed or settlement: this agreement may be drawn up in a wide variety of ways and still constitute a valid trust. Obviously the trust deed should reflect the wishes and requirements of the settlor, but should contain at least the following five elements:

  • A brief description of the settlor(s)
  • A definition of who is to act as trustee and how the Trustee may retire or be replaced
  • A definition of the powers given to the trustee and any restrictions on his power
  • A description of the assets of the trust fund, how assets may be added to the trust fund and how the assets are to be managed
  • A definition of whom is to benefit from the trust

The Settlor of a Trust
The settlor is the person or persons who give their assets to the trustee and thereby transfers the legal ownership of those assets to the trustee. It is this transfer of ownership that provides the trust with many of its legal benefits. The settlor will insure that the trust deed defines or recommends to the trustees how the benefits of the Trust should be distributed. (Terminology note: in the USA settlors may also be referred to as grantors in certain contexts.)

The Trustee of an Offshore Trust
The trustee is the person or corporate entity into whose ownership the assets of the trust have been transferred. The trustee has a duty to insure that the wishes of the settlor as stated in the trust deed (and perhaps subsequently expanded upon in a letter of wishes or by verbal instruction) are carried out and to administer the assets of the trust fund in the interests of all of the beneficiaries. As noted above, the trust deed should provide for the removal, replacement or resignation of a trustee.

The Beneficiary of a Trust
The beneficiary is the person, persons or other legal entities who will ultimately benefit under the trust deed. They may be specifically named by the settlor and their benefits specifically set out. Alternatively a class of persons may be nominated (e.g. grandchildren) from which the trustee is to choose to who shall benefit and to what extent.

Normally the trustee is guided in this choice by guidelines given to him by the settlor (see letter of wishes). Obviously a charity may be one beneficiary, or the sole beneficiary of a trust.

Almost any identifiable 'class' can be made a beneficiary of a trust, and almost any legal and possible condition can be placed on the distribution of the assets by the trustee. The settlor may be a beneficiary of the trust, but he should not be the only beneficiary, as this will normally invalidate the trust.

The beneficiaries of a trust have legally enforceable rights and can seek a legal judgement compelling the tustee to act in accordance with the terms of the trust deed.

The Trust Funds
The trust fund consists of the assets of the trust. Obviously when a trust is in the process of being established it may be reviewed by a variety of the settlor's advisors for legal and other reasons. The nature and location of the reviews will be related to the purpose of the trust. They will usually include at minimum a legal review in the jurisdiction of the governing law, to insure compliance with the relevant law, and some review to consider the tax ramifications of the tax for both the settlor and the beneficiaries.

While these reviews are necessary in many cases and certainly prudent, not all final details of the trust need be provided to allow the appropriate review. In particular, we recommend to our clients that they establish a trust with an initial nominal trust fund of US$ 100.00. This is certainly a sufficient amount to establish the trust. Once the trust has been reviewed to the satisfaction of the settlor and accepted by the trustee there should be no reason for third parties to see the trust deed again. At that point the settlor may avail himself of the clause permitting additions to the trust fund, and add whatever additional assets he desires to complete the trust fund. In fact, additional assets may typically be added to the trust fund at any time by the settlor, subject only to the approval of the trustee, which is very unlikely to be withheld.

The Name of the Trust
Although it is not legally necessary to name a trust, in practice the associated parties must refer it to in some way. Certainly in the likely event that the trust at some point requires a bank account, a securities account or the like, that account must have some name.

To answer this requirement, most trust deeds include a name for the trust. The initial reaction of many settlors is to name the trust after their family. Obviously this is acceptable, and perhaps even normal. Moreover, it may be somehow comforting to have the trust so named, especially in those cases of a settlor who is less familiar with the principles of equity and Common Law.

However, we strongly suggest that such names be avoided. If confidentiality is desirable, a name should be chosen which is unrelated to the identity of the settlor or the beneficiaries. This is especially true if the name of the trust is likely to become known in any way. For this reason, we suggest names such as the "Palm Trust", the "Island Settlement" or similar. Some clients even prefer an approach which is intentionally designed to divert intention from the settlor and beneficiaries. For example a Mr. Robert Jones establishing a new trust as the settlor might choose a name such as the "Jones Trust" or the "Jones Family Settlement".

The name of the trust is simply that of course - a name - and is in law unrelated to the settlor or beneficiaries. Any name may be chosen; it is simply for convenience of reference.

Belize Offshore Trusts

Create an Offshore Trust

The legislation relating to trusts in Belize was designed to provide for modern and flexible asset protection. A Belize trust can be an effective defence against claims from creditors in another jurisdiction, and against foreign court orders originating from divorce or bankruptcy proceedings.

Trusts may be created in Belize by oral declaration, an instrument in writing (including a will or codicil), conduct, operation of law, or by any other manner. Unit trusts, however, may only be created by a unit of writing. Trusts, other than a constructive trust, over land situated in Belize also need to be evidenced in writing for it to be enforceable.

Registration of a trust in Belize is optional. If registration is desired, an application to the Register and the payment of the relevant fee must be made. Once a trust is registered, the only way that information of the trust may be viewed by any third party is with the express written consent of the trustee.

Under Belize law, trusts have a maximum duration of 120 years from the date of creation.

British Virgin Islands Trusts

Setting Up an Offshore Trust

The trust law of the British Virgin Islands is based on English trust law. The Trustee Amendment Act 1993 (the "Amendment Act") updated the original British Virgin Islands Trustee Act (itself largely based on the English Trustee Act 1925). The Amendment Act introduced a fixed perpetuity period not exceeding 100 years, and has modern 'wait-and-see' provisions to deal with interests that might vest outside the perpetuity period. The Amendment Act also introduced purpose trusts.

BVI trusts are exempt from registration under the Registration and Records Act, and trustees are exempt from any need to file annual returns and from any other reporting requirements.

The majority of BVI trusts are exempt from all taxes provided there are no beneficiaries resident in the BVI and that the trust does not conduct any business in the BVI or own any land in the jurisdiction. The Amendment Act provided for the appointment of a 'protector of trust', effectively a supervisor of the trustee(s), and also managing and custodian trustees. With effect from 1 March 2004, three new pieces of Trust Legislation came into force in the BVI:

  • The Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act (VISTA)
  • The Trustee (Amendment) Act and
  • The Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act

The Vista Act allows trustees of VISTA trusts which hold a shareholding in a BVI international business company to disengage the trustee from management responsibilities. The use of trusts to cater for the succession of shares in companies has historically been impeded by the 'prudent man of business' rule of English trust law which is designed to help preserve the value of trust investments. The new legislation leaves the responsibility for managing the company to the directors of the company.

The new Act applies only where there is an enabling provision in the trust instrument. Where the new Act applies, designated shares will be held on "trust to retain" and the trustee's duty to retain the shares as part of the trust fund will have precedence over any duty to preserve or enhance their value. It is also possible to amend existing trusts to allow the provisions of the VISTA Act to apply to them.

The Act is confined to shares in BVI business companies and Companies Act companies; and the trustee of a VISTA trust must be a company which holds a licence to undertake trust business under the Banks and Trust Companies Act, 1990.

The Trustee (Amendment) Act makes a number of amendments to the BVI Trust law. These include: new regulations improving the BVI's purpose trusts regime and some amendments in relation to conflicts of laws provisions, including robust, comprehensive and carefully crafted provisions protecting BVI trusts (and dispositions to their trustees) against "forced heirship" claims.

The Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act provides that deeds executed by individuals no longer need to be sealed. In July, 2005, the BVI said it would amend its trusts legislation so that special trust vehicles can hold shares in private trust companies (PTCs), thus broadening the appeal of the vehicles.

The Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act (VISTA), which came into effect in March 2004, allowed trustees of VISTA trusts which hold a shareholding in a BVI international business company to disengage the trustee from management responsibilities. The British Virgin Islands has had new laws on private trust companies from January 1, 2007.

According to Robert Mathavious, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the BVI Financial Services Commission, speaking in November 2006, the legislation has been introduced by amending the Financial Services Commission Act and issuing a new Regulatory Code under that Act which enables certain categories of companies to apply, on a fast-track basis, for exemptions from the licensing requirements and other provisions of the BVI's Banks and Trust Companies Act.

The changes were applauded by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), which has said that the introduction of the measures would make the BVI a highly attractive jurisdiction to use for the incorporation of private trust companies.

Deputy Chairman of STEP-BVI, Christopher Mckenzie observed that that the element of certainty that would be created by the new measures would attract those who are seeking a reputable jurisdiction in which to set up these sorts of structures.

The FSC announced in July 2007 that it expected regulations enabling the establishment of private trust companies to come into force during the course of coming month. The order made by the Executive Council anticipated this by setting the fees that will be payable by private trust companies.

Cyprus Trusts

There are three types of trust available in Cyprus - local trusts, offshore trusts, and international trusts. Of these three types of trust, the international is of most interest and has the following characteristics: -

  • The settlor must be a non-resident of Cyprus
  • The beneficiaries must be non-resident (except if they are a local charity)
  • One of the trustees must be Cypriot (individual or corporate)
  • The trust period may be up to 100 years (longer for charitable trusts)
  • Confidentiality is protected in the law, and foreign judgement are specifically non-recognised
  • There is no registration requirement
  • Trust documents can be in English
  • Trust assets may not include immovable property in Cyprus
  • Creditors have to prove intent and must claim within two years
  • Generally, the income and assets of international trusts are not taxable in Cyprus

Trust Creation in Gibraltar

Forming an Off-Shore Trust

A trust is a vehicle used in an individual's financial planning whereby the person setting up the trust (the 'settlor') transfers the legal title of any interest he might have in any property to named trustees.

The trust is created in the form of a legal document called the trust deed. The trustees are required to hold the property in accordance with any obligations imposed by the terms of the deed, and in particular to administer the property for the benefit of such persons (the 'beneficiaries') as are named in the trust deed.

A beneficiary has recourse in law to compel the trustees to act in accordance with the terms set out in the trust deed.

Discretionary trusts: it is common for trustees to be given wide discretionary powers so as to take account of changing circumstances.

Letter of wishes: a settlor will normally provide the trustees with an informal and confidential letter of wishes which will provide guidance as to how the trustees might exercise their discretion. The letter of wishes does not form part of the trust, and can therefore be amended or added to at any time.

Protector: a protector is a person appointed under the trust deed whom the trustees can consult when administering the trust, and in particular cases from whom the trustees must seek consent before carrying out certain transactions. The role of protector is one of some responsibility and therefore he is usually a person in whom the settlor has complete confidence. However, the appointment of a protector is optional and not common in Gibraltar.

Trusts in Gibraltar: being a common law jurisdiction, the concept of trusts is recognised and given full legal effect in Gibraltar. The provisions of the Gibraltar Trustee Ordinance are based almost exclusively on the trustee laws of the United Kingdom.

Reasons for setting up trusts - the most common reasons for setting up a trust are as follows:

  • Protection of assets - by severing ownership, a trust can avoid assets being repatriated or being made accessible to subsequent creditors
  • Avoid or defer taxation - usually inheritance taxes and wealth taxes. Trusts are also used to avoid assets accompanying individuals to new tax domiciles
  • To ensure property passes in succession - a trust can name the order of devolution of the trust property over the life of the trust
  • To hold property that cannot be held personally - for example by infants
  • To prevent family property passing to those who might dissipate it - a trust can enable such persons to benefit from the property but only under the trustees control

There are many advantages to setting up a trust in Gibraltar, the main ones being:

  • Confidentiality - except for asset protection trusts there are no filing requirements and no information needs to be disclosed to any authority as long as no liability to Gibraltar tax arises.
  • Tax benefits - as long as the trust is established by a non-resident, has no Gibraltar resident beneficiaries and derives no income locally (other than bank interest), no tax will be charged on the trust's income.
  • Residence of trustees - trustees of Gibraltar trusts can be resident in Gibraltar without affecting the tax status of the trust
  • Perpetuity and accumulation periods - under Gibraltar law, both the perpetuity and accumulation periods of a Gibraltar trust are 100 years

Hong Kong Trusts

Organize an Off-Shore Trust

Trust law in Hong Kong is virtually identical to English trust law and is contained in the provisions of the Trustee Ordinance (an Ordinance which is modelled on the English Trustee Act 1925).

Both fixed and discretionary trusts may be settled in Hong Kong. Documents do not have to be registered and there are no statutory requirements in Hong Kong for a trust to make annual returns, submit audited financial statements, etc., unless it is carrying on business in Hong Kong.

Unlike most offshore jurisdictions Hong Kong has not tampered with trust laws in order to make the jurisdiction a more attractive jurisdiction in which to create a settlement. Hong Kong will therefore not normally be a suitable location for an asset protection trust.

Offshore Trusts in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis

off-Shore Trust Start-Up

The law governing trusts in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, modeled closely on the English trust act, contains modern asset protection provisions: the settlor is legally shielded from forced heir-ship, compulsory division of matrimonial property, and creditor suits. Trusts and their beneficiaries can apply for tax exempt status if its transactions are confined to non-residents of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The tax exempt status of the trust is not compromised by any of the following: the owning or leasing of commercial or residential property for the use of the trust or of its beneficiaries, the holding of meetings, the operation of local bank accounts, the employment of residents, or the use of local goods and services.

The following restrictions and requirements apply to trusts in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis:

  • Trusts may have a protector (in the cases of unit, spendthrift, and charitable trusts, however, the protector must be professionally qualified)
  • Both the settlor and the trustees can be beneficiaries of the trust
  • Trusts must maintain a registered office address within the Federation
  • There must be a minimum of two trustees; a sole trustee trust is permitted if the trustee is a corporation
  • At least one trustee must be a resident of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, or conduct business from an office within the Federation
  • Trust do not need to be audited
  • An annual statement must be filed by the trust, but this need not include any financial information
  • Non-charitable trusts are restricted to a maximum one hundred year duration

Coddan can register a trust in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis from as little as £1,100. We also offer a package which consists of both a trust and limited liability company, which are often used in combination as a more effective asset protection and tax minimisation structure, and which includes a nominee trustee and a nominee director; the cost of this package is £2,400.

Our standard service can be upgraded with the addition of many complementary services, including: nominee officer services, commercial and investment banking introductions, management services, registration of shipping vessels, administrative services, domain name registration, additional sets of corporate documents, book keeping and accounting services, notarisation and apostille services.

Forming Trusts in Panama

Offshore Trust Incorporation

Panamanian trust law was updated with Law No 1 of 1984. Panamanian trusts (Fideicomiso) must be expressed in writing, so cannot be constructive. Trusts can be stated to be revocable but otherwise are irrevocable. The settlor, trustees and beneficiaries need not be Panamanian nationals or resident in Panama. A Panamanian lawyer must act as an agent for the trust. Trusts may be settled in respect of existing or future property; additional property may be included after the settlement either by the settlor or a third party.

There is no registration or minimum capital requirements, or fees, and trust documents can be in English or Spanish. Unlike foundations, trusts are not protected by specific provisions against foreign inheritance laws, judgement or creditors. However, purpose trusts are allowed for.

If a trust earns a taxable income in Panama, then tax is levied directly on the trust and not on the trustee.

The National Banking Commission of Panama regulates the transactions of entities acting as trustees; see Offshore Business Sectors for further details. The Banking Commission does not have the authority to investigate the terms of particular trusts or the relevant parties, except where complaints are raised by beneficiaries.

At the end of 2000, Panama enacted two laws addressing money laundering and issued Executive Decrees to effect accompanying administrative changes. As a result of these new laws, all financial institutions in Panama now come under the scrutiny of the bank superintendence, including trusts, whereas previously only banks were legally bound to report financial transactions over US$ 10,000 and other suspicious activities.

Establish a Trust in Seychelles

Off-Shore Trust Registration

The International Trusts Act 1994 established, for the first time, a regime for international trusts in the Seychelles; it does not provide for domestic trusts. The Act was drafted after a thorough study of current practice in a number of leading offshore jurisdictions. Under the Act, the Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA) is appointed as the regulatory body for trusts, alongside the Court.

The following are some of the key features of the Seychelles Trust regime:

  • n international trust may be created in writing, by will or by oral declaration
  • Deemed trusts are admitted, as are those resulting from a decision of the Court
  • Purpose trusts are permitted
  • The settlor must reside outside the Seychelles for the duration of the trust
  • At least one trustee must reside in the jurisdiction, but this trustee may be an international business company, which shall not thus be deemed as resident
  • An international business company may therefore be a settler
  • The trust property may not include any Seychelles movable or immovable property

The names of settlors and beneficiaries are confidential under the Act, unless a Court orders disclosure under the Anti-money Laundering Act. The standard perpetuity period is 100 years; but it does not apply to purpose trusts. The accumulation of income is permitted. Forced heir-ship judgements are specifically excluded. An international trust is exempt from tax in the Seychelles. Registration of trusts must be carried out by one of the two licensed trustees currently operating in the Seychelles.

Salient features include:

  • The transfer or disposition by a person creating an international trust cannot be invalidated by any foreign rule of forced heirship
  • No restrictions on the accumulation of income
  • Settlors or trustees themselves can be named as beneficiaries under the trust
  • The law governing an international trust is the law chosen by the settlor to be the proper law
  • No requirement to mention the names of the settlor and beneficiary, unless the latter is a Seychelles
  • An international trust is valid and enforceable in Seychelles
  • Disclosure of information or documents relating to an international trust can only be effected in extenuating circumstances involving criminal activity

Registering Offshore Trusts in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Open an Offshore Trust

Trusts are constituted under the International Trusts Act 1996, as amended by the International Trust Amendments Act 2002. Trust deeds are registered in a confidential government Trust Registry, whereupon an official Certificate of Registration is issued to the settler/granter. Key features of the current trusts regime are as follows:

  • A duly registered trust will not be rendered unenforceable because it was invalid under the laws of the settlor and grantor's domicile or residence. Thus, forced heir-ship law and community property regimes can be avoided
  • The traditional rule against perpetuates and the rule against accumulations are modified and clarified in the current legislation
  • Purpose trusts, which are created for a specific purpose but without named beneficiaries, are allowed and statutorily prescribed
  • The role and duties of protectors are specifically set out and clarified to account for recent case law
  • Choice-of-law and conflicts-of-laws issues are anticipated and resolved in favor of the provisions of the International Trust Act
  • A foreign judgement against a registered International Trust (or its settler or beneficiaries) is not enforceable in Saint Vincent if the judgement was based on law inconsistent with the International Trust Act, 1996
  • Actions against registered international trusts must be commenced within two years from date of creation of the trust
  • A complaining creditor may satisfy his claim against the property of a registered international trust only if that creditor can show both that the settler/grantor's principal interest in creating the trust was to defraud him, that the disposition of property to the trust rendered the settler/granter insolvent
  • Traditional fraudulent conveyance laws (Statute of Elizabeth) are not applicable to registered international trusts
  • The bankruptcy or insolvency of the settler/granter under the laws of his residence or domicile will not affect a registered international trust
  • An international trust may own one or more Saint Vincent international business companies
  • Registered trustees fall within the definition of "financial institutions" of the Proceeds of Crime Money Laundering Prevention Act 2001 and are thereby subject to its anti money laundering requirements

Isle of Man Trust Formation and Management

Offshore Trust Registrar

Trust management, particularly for wealthy UK individuals, has been a traditional business for the Isle of Man. Successive tightening of UK anti-avoidance legislation have reduced the possibilities for UK citizens, but trust work continues to be significant; many Collective Investment Funds are of course based on Trusts. The recent introduction of the purpose trust will probably lead to an increase in corporate trust work.

The Isle of Man has a well-developed legal and financial infrastructure for trust management. With a large established base of trusts, and a growing reliance on corporate work, the volume of trust litigation is becoming significant.

In common with many other offshore jurisdictions, the Isle of Man responded to pressure from the OECD by tightening up its regulatory regime.

Until 2005, trustees were not licensed or supervised by the Financial Supervision Commission, unless the fiduciary carried on business in investment, banking or insurance, in which case licences were required under those headings.

The Fiduciary Services Act, 2005, extended the Corporate Service Providers Act 2000 to require persons who, by way of business, provide certain services to trusts and partnerships or act as nominee holders of units in unit trusts, to hold a fiduciary licence.

The licensing of fiduciaries brought the Isle of Man into line with similar arrangements already established in other offshore jurisdictions such as Bermuda, Guernsey and Jersey and an external review of the proposals by London law firm Stikeman Elliot found the bill compares favourably with legislation in these places.

Setting-Up Trusts in Guernsey

Offshore Trust Incorporator

Guernsey trust law has a mixed English/Norman pedigree, but the Trust Law 1989, which mostly reflects English common law, clarified many points, on the whole giving extra protection to beneficiaries. Appeal is to the English Privy Council. There are no registration or filing requirements for Guernsey trusts. (NB Guernsey law does not formally apply in Alderney and Sark but has a substantial influence on proceedings.) The Financial Services Commission is engaged on a review of Guernsey's financial governance regime which may well tighten the regime for trusts, among other sectors.

Guernsey has ratified the Hague Convention, and has made specific provision for the non-recognition of foreign judgement and the exclusion of foreign inheritance laws. The maximum perpetuity period is 100 years. There is no specific provision for 'purpose' trusts or for asset protection trusts.

Start-Up a Trust in Jersey

Although Jersey law has its roots in the Norman law (a 'Roman' or 'Civil' law code), the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984 codified an entirely 'Anglo-Saxon' body of trust law, resolving many uncertainties and increasing protection for beneficiaries. Subsequent amendments included the recognition of 'purpose' trusts in 1996 (the normal form of Jersey trusts is 'discretionary'). This has led to an increase in corporate use of Jersey trusts.

The most significant amendment to the 1984 law came into force on October 27, 2006. This introduced settlor-reserved powers, which provide greater statutory certainty regarding the level of control and influence a settlor may exercise, in appropriate circumstances, over the ongoing administration of assets placed into trust. The powers that may be reserved by the settlor include the power to appoint and remove trustees, to amend or revoke the terms of the trust and to appoint or remove an investment manager or investment adviser. The amendments also permit a trustee to delegate any of his or her trusts or powers if permitted by the terms of the trust. Other amendments include conflict of law provisions which will mean that the validity of a trust governed by Jersey law will not be affected by any rights conferred on anyone under a foreign law, and a proposal that will remove the existing automatic ‘personal guarantor’ provisions for directors of corporate trustees, thereby making it more attractive to establish private trust companies in Jersey.

Jersey is a party to the Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Trusts and Their Recognition. Jersey trust law explicitly excludes foreign inheritance laws and does not recognize foreign judgments. The creation of a trust is free from Government duty and there are no registration or audit requirements as such in Jersey, although the tax authorities of beneficiaries' jurisdictions (eg the UK) may require annual reports.

Jersey trusts may 'migrate' to other jurisdictions by changing trustees and the applicable law of a trust; likewise, foreign trusts may migrate to Jersey.

A Jersey trust is governed by the law of Jersey. In the case where the beneficiaries of a Jersey trust are non resident, income arising from sources outside Jersey is not liable to income tax in Jersey, nor are distributions to the beneficiaries. Interest on bank deposits made by the trustees of a non-resident trust is not taxed because of a government concession. The trustees of a non resident trust are not required to make returns or provide accounts of the trust to the Comptroller of income tax. Trust accounts must be kept but do not require auditing.