Who are we?
Icaza, Gonzalez-Ruiz & Alemán (BVI) Trust Limited is a service provider in the British Virgin Islands since the early 1990s, and has always stood out for its professionalism, knowledge and efficiency in the provision of its services.
In the fiduciary area, our clients come from different geographical areas and we have an active coverage of the Latin American, European, and Asian region, for which we have a marked international reputation.
To be a one-stop shop capable of providing High Net Worth Individuals and High Net Worth Families the necessary tools to plan and administer the succession of their patrimony, and implement the transition of this patrimony to the new generation.
To offer solutions and implement structures that accommodate the needs of each of our estate planning clients in order to achieve a well-structured corporate government within their family businesses, and an organized succession which comprehends tax efficiency and preservation of wealth.
Trusts under the laws of the British Virgin Islands:
1. BVI Trusts are governed by the BVI Trustee Act 1961, as amended in 1993, 2003, 2013, and 2015. Trustees of BVI Trusts are subject to the Prudent Man of Business Rule that establishes that the Trustee has the duty to monitor the activities of any company comprised in the trust fund and to intervene, where appropriate, to prevent the company from entering into risky ventures, or to ensure that the directors of the company maximize its financial capacity. In other words, Trustees of a Trust governed by the BVI Trustee Act are responsible for the administration or for monitoring the administration of trust assets.
2. Virgin Islands Special Trust Act 2003 (“VISTA”) The Vista Trust is specifically designed to hold shares of BVI companies. The difference between a Trust governed by the Vista Act and a Trust governed by the BVI Trustee Act is that a traditional trust under the BVI Trustee Act places a fiduciary duty on the Trustee to ensure that the trust assets are protected and properly administered during the life of the Trust. The Prudent Man of Business Rule does not apply to Vista Trusts. Under the Vista Act the Trustee has a statutory duty to retain the shares of the BVI company which are subject to the Vista Trust, but the duty to preserve or enhance the value of the trust fund will be subservient to this duty. In summary, the advantages of the Vista Trust are the following:
Common Uses of Vista Trusts
1. For patriarchs of family owned businesses who wish to run their company independently as well as benefiting from a trust’s estate planning ability.
2. For people who own passive assets in an underlying company and wish to continue controlling these assets, but also wish to establish an estate planning structure for future generations.3. For people who wish to establish an asset protection trust, but keep control of the Trust assets.
Advantages of Establishing a Trust
• Estate planning structure;
• Avoid disruption on death of Settlor;
• Protect assets;
• Preservation of family wealth against dissipation;
• Circumvent forced heirship provisions;
• Transition of family business into future generations;
• Run an individual’s business or own shares in a Company;
Types of Trust under BVI Law
• Discretionary Trusts: refers to Trusts in which the Trustee has discretion regarding the administrative and dipositive provisions of the Trust. Under discretionary trusts, distribution of capital and income between beneficiaries is at the discretion of the trustees, with the result that no beneficiary is entitled to call on the trustees to distribute capital and income.
Generally, the Trust Deed of a discretionary trust establishes a class of beneficiaries that is defined with reference to a wide class of persons born within the perpetuity period, although it may include corporations, charitable organizations and/or purposes. Power is generally conferred on the trustees to add further beneficiaries at a later date and to remove beneficiaries from the class of current beneficiaries.
Usually, due to the extent of the administrative and dispositive discretions conferred upon the Trustee, the Settlor will provide the Trustee with a non-binding letter setting out his or her wishes on matters such as distributions, and the investment of the trust fund. The trustees are obliged to consider such wishes and will generally act in accordance with them, if they are reasonable and practicable in the prevailing circumstances.
• Fixed Trusts: refers to Trusts where the dispositive provisions of the Trust in regards to the Beneficiaries are fixedly established. However, Trusts may be a hybrid between a Fixed Trust and a Discretionary Trust.
• Purpose Trusts: a Trust, charitable or non-charitable in nature, created for a specific purpose that is not contrary to public policy or unlawful. The objects for which the Purpose Trust is established must be clear so that any time it is possible to state with certainty whether a proposed use of the assets subject to the Purpose Trust is within the scope of the object.
Settlor or Protector Reserved Powers under BVI Law
A Settlor or Protector of a BVI Trust may reserve the following powers:
1. Determine the law of which jurisdiction shall be the proper law of the Trust;
2. Change the forum of administration of the Trust;
3. Remove Trustees;
4. Appoint new or additional Trustees;
5. Exclude any beneficiary as beneficiary of the Trust;
6. Include any person as a beneficiary of the Trust in substitution for or in addition to any beneficiary of the Trust;
7. Withhold consent from specified actions of the Trustee either conditionally or unconditionally.