Trusts

The concept of the trust, developed over centuries under English law, is an invaluable device for international estate and tax planning for affluent individuals.

We frequently advise on the offshore aspect of international trust structures for high-net-worth individuals and their onshore advisers and our trusts team has considerable experience in the drafting of the trust deeds and related documentation. Our services include advising trustees, protectors and beneficiaries on their rights and obligations under TCI trusts.

Our practice includes the drafting of TCI wills and testamentary instruments, the re-sealing of foreign grants of probate in the Turks & Caicos Islands and the legal aspects of the administration of estates.

The volume of trust litigation in the Islands increases within each passing year and our trust litigation team has acted in most of the major trusts cases which have come before the Islands’ Supreme Court in recent years.

Favourable legislation

The Islands’ Trusts Ordinance came into force in 1991, though the trust concept has long been known and used in TCI law. The Ordinance is not a complete codification of the law of trusts but seeks to set out the essential characteristics for the formation, administration, variation and termination of trusts, to settle and clarify some of the international conflict rules relating to trust recognition, to abolish the rules against perpetuities and accumulation, to give statutory recognition to concepts and ideas commonly found in modern trust documentation (such as trust protectors) and to make for more flexible rules in relation to trust administration.

The Ordinance also allows for the establishment of asset protection trusts. Section 61 specifies a transfer to a TCI trust will not be set aside at the instance of a creditor of the settlor provided that the settlor was solvent (within the meaning of the Ordinance) at the time he made the transfer, and did not become insolvent by reason of the transfer. The burden of proof of insolvency is on the person alleging it.

TCI trusts may be of a perpetual duration. Any disposition under a TCI trust which avoids or defeats any rights under foreign law of any person relating to the settlor (including heirship rights) is not void or voidable.

There is no obligation to register a TCI trust and therefore the terms of such trusts are not a matter of public record.