International Trusts and Trustee Services

The Trusts Act of 1992

Following the implementation of the Trusts Act of 1992, Belize has become the most sought after tax neutral jurisdiction for the establishment of its common law Trust. An asset protection Trust is considered an essential part of any investment planning structure. A Trust is a fiduciary relationship that is created between two or more parties with respect to the proper placement and distribution of real property, assets and funds. It is a basic arrangement whereby an entity manages property or assets for the benefit of another with the underlying principle being the clear separation of the legal ownership of the asset from the beneficial ownership and use of the asset.

Parties Involved in a Trust

The person that creates the trust is known as the "Settlor" or "Grantor". The person who manages the Trust is known as the Trustee. The person or persons for whom the Trust is being created are known as the Beneficiaries. A Protector is a person appointed under the Trust Deed with whom the Trustees can consult when administering the Trust. In certain cases, the Trustees must seek consent from the Protector before carrying out certain transactions related to the Trust. The Protector can also be authorized to remove the Trustees and appoint new ones.

The Trustee gives the Grantor an assurance that he will take responsibility for the management and distribution of property and assets in accordance with the Grantor's wishes which are duly recorded within a Trust Deed. The Trust Deed is a written agreement which lists the assets being placed into the trust and details the duties of the Trustee. It also names the beneficiaries and specifies the type of provisions being set in place for unforeseen events. These can include topics unpleasant to think of but are never-the-less important to cover. They can range from financial disasters to excessive death duties, spendthrift family members, marital breakdowns, family disagreements, business mismanagement, contingent creditors or even to political upheaval.

What Our Customers Are Saying!

I have been working with Dave for almost 2 years and have come to trust and rely on him for much of my investments and general estate planning. He has been very easy to work with and always responsive.

- Anne O.

Asset Protection Trust

An Asset Protection Trust is aptly named because it provides you with the opportunity to change your financial affairs to reflect your future needs. You also achieve substantial protection through the diversification and gifting of your assets into a Trust. There they become unavailable and completely out of the reach of illegitimate creditors, predators or persons in your resident domicile who may sue and win a judgment against you. You are also safe from judgments levied by US or worldwide courts who may want to freeze or encumber your assets while there is a pending lawsuit and before any judgment is rendered.

Trusts can be established either by oral declaration or by written instrument. Although there are no mandatory requirements for the written registration of a trust created under Belize law, the advantages that registration brings would include acknowledgement by the trustees that they have been legally bound to the Trust. Registration secures the trust documents in the Supreme Court Registry of Belize, thus providing legal recognizance and acceptance of the Trust’ existence. The Register of Trusts is not open to inspection without the written consent of the trustee.

Belize Trusts & Offshore Companies

A Belize Trust and an offshore company (a Belize IBC, Panama IBC or Nevis LLC, etc.) can be structured so that the assets of the Trust are held by the offshore company which in turn has its shares issued to and owned by the Trust. With this type of structuring, these two entities become most beneficial for estate planning and particularly useful for the avoidance of inheritance taxes, income and capital gains taxes, forced heirship provisions and probate procedures. This can result in very substantial tax and non-tax related advantages which accrues during the lifetime of the Grantor and ultimately provides continuity for the beneficiaries of the Trust as well as a double layer of privacy and long-term asset protection.

Georgetown Trust, Ltd. is licensed to facilitate trust formations, management of offshore trusts and the provision of trustee services.

Georgetown Trust, Ltd. also offers several forms of Trust Documentation - The Standard Discretionary Trust and the Charitable Discretionary Trust. As well, Belize law further provides for the creation of Spendthrift Trusts or Protective Trusts. The Standard Discretionary Trust has a maximum life of 120 years. Charitable Discretionary trusts may be established with unlimited duration. For facilitating the transfer of trusts from another jurisdiction or for making appropriate amendments to standard trust deeds, our charges are reflected on an individualized basis.