The use of the international trust has become increasingly imaginative and prolific and remains an important feature of estate planning and asset protection.
- There must be at least one trustee, which can be a corporation incorporated under the Nevis Business Corporation Ordinance;
- The Settlor and Beneficiaries must at all times be non-residents of Nevis; and
- The trust property must not include any land situated in St. Kitts and Nevis.
No disclosure of information
Secrecy of information
Asset protection features
An international trust cannot be declared void, voidable or defective by reason of any forced heirship rules of the Settlor’s domicile, residence, place of current incorporation, formation or establishment;
The rule against perpetuities does not apply to an international trust and unless otherwise provided, an international trust shall have unlimited duration;
Foreign Judgments against the trust are not enforceable in Nevis. Any civil action to recover assets from an international trust must be brought anew in the Courts of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis;
The Ordinance was amended recently to give a trustee additional powers to help achieve the purpose of an international trust by allowing the trustee to combine two or more separate trusts into a single trust or divide a single trust into two or more separate trusts provided that such action does not impair the rights of any beneficiary or adversely affect the purpose of the trust or trusts. Rules governing any such combination or severance are also provided for in the Ordinance;
The 2015 amendment also expanded the list of authorized trust investments to include such assets approved by the protector so that trustees can hold a wider variety of assets;
The sole remedy available to a creditor is to allege fraudulent transfer or disposition. If the Trust is settled after the expiration of one year from the date that the creditor’s cause of action accrued or originated, it is not deemed fraudulent. In any event, a creditor seeking to set aside a transfer to an international trust must prove beyond a reasonable doubt and with clear and convincing evidence that the transfer constituted a fraudulent disposition. Moreover, a creditor must deposit with the Ministry of Finance, a security bond of XCD$270,000.00 or US$100,000.00 before he can bring an action against an international Trust;
A creditor of a beneficiary cannot compel or force a distribution with regard to a discretionary interest in an international trust or compel or force a trustee to exercise the trustee’s discretion to make a distribution with regard to a discretionary interest in an international trust. Neither can a creditor of a beneficiary compel or force a protector to exercise a power to direct a trustee to make such distributions to any beneficiary of an international trust. Furthermore, a trustee is permitted to make payments on behalf of the beneficiary without liability to any creditor;
Creditors of a beneficiary of an international trust will have a right to a beneficiary’s interest only in the circumstances where the beneficiary has unfettered control of the trust property and exercises such control. Similarly, creditors will only have a right to a settlor’s interest in an international trust if that settlor has retained a power to revoke the international trust entirely and to appoint the trust property to the settlor, the settlor’s estate, the settlor’s creditors, or the creditors of the settlor’s estate, to the extent the settlor exercised such retained power.
Appointment of a protector
The application shall be accompanied by:
- Notice of the name and registered office of the Trust.
- Undertaking that Trust document has been read and it conforms with NIETO (Nevis International Exempt Trust Ordinance).
- Name of the Trustee: one of the trustees has to be a corporation incorporated under the NBCO or a trust company doing business in Nevis.
- A certificate from a trustee company, a barrister or solicitor certifying:
- That the trust upon registration will be an international trust;
- The date on which the Trust was created, settled or established.
- where the governing law is changed to the law of Nevis, that the trust is registered as a qualified foreign trust and the date of its registration: (a) There has been no changes made to the International Trust (b) There is no illegal activity perpetuated by the Trust and/or (c) Pending litigation against the Trust
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