Georgetown Trust Blog

Understanding Trust Documentation and Its Importance

Posted by Georgetown Trust on May 26, 2015 12:26:27 PM

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After the establishment of the Trusts Acts in Belize in 1992, the country has been a popular place for offshore trusts. You might want to establish an international or offshore trust in order to protect your assets from government or legal intervention, as a way to provide for your loved ones in the future or even just to limit your tax liability in a completely legal way.

Whatever the motivation behind the establishment of an offshore trust in Belize, it is important that you understand what trust documentation is as well as why it is so integral to the trust establishment process.

The Role of a Trust Deed

The most important piece of trust documentation will be the trust deed. This agreement is, essentially, what creates the trust. Outlined within the trust deed will be key pieces of information like what properties or assets will be held within the trust and who the beneficiaries are.

A trust deed is not just a guideline or a suggestion: it is a contract binding all parties involved and is enforceable by law. In order to be officially considered a trust deed, your trust documentation should include all of the following information:

  • An official name for the trust
  • The name of the trustee
  • The objective of the trust
  • The country in which the trust is founded
  • The powers granted to the trustee, which might include adding beneficiaries or removing them

Other Trust Documentation That Might Be Needed

The trust deed is the primary piece of documentation needed to establish a trust, but additional documents can help to better protect your assets and held the trustee gain or limit their power in the future.

For example, a document declaring durable power of attorney for property management is a way to grant control to a trustee should you be unable to unavailable to manage new assets that haven't been specifically mentioned in a trust deed.

This is quite common, especially if your assets can generate additional income or need to be bought and sold regularly in order to increase their value. 

An advance health care directive is also an option that allows a trustee to make vital decisions regarding your trust in the event that you are no longer able to make them for yourself.

When you trust your trustee and know that they fully understand the thought process and goals behind the establishment of your trust, conferring greater power to them through official documentation ensures that there are no bureaucratic snags that could get in the way of your wishes.

Why is Trust Documentation So Important?

From the very beginning, trust documentation is vital. Your trust won't be legal without formal documents declaring what assets are contained within, who the trustee is and who the eventual beneficiaries will be. Without documentation, you are simply handing over control of your assets to a third party. Documents do more than keep trustees in line, however.

They also serve as protection against taxation, asset freezes and more. Having the right documentation is proof that you are not controlling the assets, that they are not eligible for individual taxation and that they can't be seized today or anytime in the future.

Before establishing a trust in Belize or anywhere else in the world, you should understand exactly why trust documentation is so integral to the process. Through Georgetown Trust, you can have help drafting trust deeds and ensuring that your wishes are always carried out.

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Topics: International Trusts