Trust: British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands

TheBritish Virgin Islands, British overseas territory in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It is part of an island chain collectively known as the Virgin Islands, which makes up the northeastern extremity of the Greater Antilles. Puerto Rico lies to the west. The British territory consists of 4 larger islands (Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke) and 32 smaller islands and islets, of which more than 20 are uninhabited; lesser islands include Great Tobago, Salt, Peter, Cooper, Norman, Guana, Beef, Great Thatch, Little Thatch, and Marina Cay. The chief town and port is Road Town on Tortola (21 square miles [54 square km]), the largest of the islands. The total area of the colony is 59 square miles (153 square km).
The great majority of British Virgin Islanders are the descendants of African slaves. Those of European descent constitute a small minority, although their number grew markedly since 1960, as the number of immigrants from the United States and Great Britain increased. Of all the islands, Tortola has by far the largest population, some four-fifths of the total. About one-fourth of all Tortolans live in Road Town. English is the official language; far more frequently used in practice, however, is an English-based creole, Virgin Islands Creole English. Religious affiliations are mostly with Protestant denominations, Methodists being the largest single group.


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British Virgin Islands Trust Overview

Trust Legislation
Trustee Act 1961 (as amended)
Formal nameTrust
The settlor is the person, individual or corporate body, who establishes and whose assets are put into the trust. The settlor of Trust in the British Virgin Islands may also be the beneficiary of those assets and may retain control of the trust. There is no protection from a subsequent settlor’s bankruptcy after assets are gifted to the trust
Individuals, as well as companies licensed as trust companies under the Banks and Trust Companies Act, or established as private trust companies under the Regulations, may act as trustees of a BVI trust.
Beneficiaries are those who get benefit from the trust.
The trust deed may provide for the appointment of a protector. A protector is often appointed pursuant to the terms of the trust and has such duties and functions as prescribed by the trust.
Trust Deed
This is the document that sets out the powers and terms upon which the Trustee shall administer the trust,
such as the power to make investments and/or pay monies to a Beneficiary. It is possible to
reserve powers in favour of the Settlor and/or the Protector.
A licensed trust company is subject to the strict confidentiality laws of The British Virgin Islands and must respect the confidentiality of the trust.
Protection from foreign Judments
The law does not include limited provisions regarding ignoring and not enforcing foreign judgments. The Hague Convention on Trusts applies in the British Virgin Islands.
Protection from creditors
The Trustee act do not repeal the Statute of Elizabeth, so transfers by the settlor to the trust may be set aside if the settlor transferred the property before the debt arose. The creditor must prove the fraudulent transfer of assets to the trust, of which its definition is not clear in the law. Creditor claims may be brought jointly. If a fraudulent transfer is proven, the trust may be declared invalid. There is no statute of limitations on fraudulent transfers.
Protection for immigrant trusts
Trusts that migrate from other jurisdictions do not benefit from retroactive protection.
Trusts are subject to a maximum perpetuity period up to 360 years.
There is no mandatory requirement to register any trust with the regulatory authorities in the BVI and, in fact, all trust deeds are exempt from registration. Therefore, the details of a BVI trust will ordinarily remain confidential subject only to disclosure as may be required by an order of the BVI court.
A trust established in the British Virgin Islands may not be subject to local taxes applicable to the assets and income of the trust.

It must be noted that the choice of law of the trust would not be applicable to tax matters, which would be governed by the respective jurisdiction where the settlor, beneficiaries, assets or trustee are located, as applicable.

You should consult with your tax advisor or accountant to know the tax implications in your jurisdiction of residence when establishing a trust in the BVI, transfer assets to it and receive profits from said assets.


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