What Are International Trusts?
As per the Belize Trusts Act: “A trust exists where a person (known as a “trustee”) holds or has vested in him, or is deemed to hold or have vested in him, property which does not form, or which has ceased to form, part of his own estate:-
(a) for the benefit of any person (known as a “beneficiary”) whether or not yet ascertained or in existence; or
(b) for any valid charitable or non-charitable purpose which is not for the benefit only of the trustee; or
(c) for such benefit as is mentioned in paragraph (a) and also for any such purpose as is mentioned in paragraph (b).
What Is Contained In A Trust Document?
While the specific instructions in the Trust Deed may vary greatly from case to case, the necessary features are:
- Naming of the Trustee.
- Defining the terms and conditions under which the Trustee can resign or be removed.
- Defining the Trustee’s powers and restrictions.
- Describing the assets or initial Trust Property
- Naming the Beneficiaries and describing how each is to benefit.
- Naming of the Settlor, the person who contributes the initial assets to the Trust.
- This Settlor then literally “gives away” the assets transferring legal ownership of them to the Trustee.
- The Settlor names the Beneficiaries of the Trust.
- The Deed identifies the Property Settled upon the Trustee: the property then passes on to the Trustee.
- The Trust Property can be increased at any time providing the Trust Deed has been written to allow this.
Who Is The Trusts Settlor?
The Settlor is the individual or company that settles the initial assets into the trust.
What Is The Trusts Trustee?
The Trustee is the person, corporate body, or other entity into whose ownership the assets have been transferred.
What is the Trustee’s general duty?
It is the duty of the Trustee to ensure that the wishes of the Settlor are carried out and the beneficiaries’ interests protected. The Trustee can be removed and replaced by a new Trustee if for any reason it is deemed appropriate.
What Is A Trusts Protector?
A Protector can be an individual or an entity who is usually appointed to oversee the activities of the Trustee. The Protector can be given power within the terms of the Trust Deed to remove a Trustee, protect the interests of the beneficiaries, or appoint a new Trustee.
What Are Trusts Beneficiaries?
A Beneficiary is any person or persons or any other legal entity, including another Trust or a Charitable Organization, who will benefit under the terms of the Trust Deed. They may be nominated either specifically by the Settlor and their benefits clearly defined, or by class, that is, sons, daughters, grandchildren, etc.
What Are The Main Benefits Of Setting Up A Trust?
A Trust is a unique legal entity that allows the Trust Deed to be written to suit your personal requirements and intended purposes. The following are some of the main reasons for the use of International Trusts
- Asset Protection
Asset Protection Trusts are created as a tax-neutral method of transferring the legal ownership of your major assets into the name of a Trustee prior to any litigation or other attack. With the use of a Multi-Jurisdictional “International” APT, you can have the protection of the most favorable APT law in the world. The presence of such a formidable APT should discourage nearly all potential threats, and those that want to challenge the trust in court would most likely have to post a lump sum of cash, mainly around the vicinity of US$25,000, to even commence proceedings in the country having jurisdiction over the trust.
- Family Protection
The trust can be set up to protect the interests of a Family on a whole or the interests of specific persons within the family, for example, minor family members, persons who are not able to care for themselves or persons who would like the family assets all for themselves.
- Privacy, Anonymity and Flexibility
Under most international trust law, the Trust Deed is a private document with the only information registered with the trust registry being the Trust name, Trustee and Protector. No information on its contents is available to any external authority. This confidentiality is available in Belize by provisions in the Belize Trusts Act. Flexibility within the Trust Deed, particularly of a Discretionary Trust, is provided by the following:
➢ through provisions that provide that the Trust can be revoked or terminated;
➢ that the Trustee can be removed;
➢ that the Law and Forum, that is, the location of the Trust, can be transferred to another jurisdiction should it be felt that worldwide political developments make this a prudent precaution;
➢ policies on administration and disposition of the assets can be modified.
What About Costs?
ICS offers very competitive rates for the establishment of a Belize International Trust as well as for acting as Trustee with full administrative capacity. Please review our Belize Trust Fee Schedule for this information.
How Do I Begin?
To commence procedures to establish our own trust, please fill out and submit our Trust Application Form along with the required due diligence documents.
What is a Foundation?
The best way to define a Foundation is by making reference to a company and a trust. A foundation is a legal entity seen to be a hybrid between a company and a trust. The Foundation incorporates the donor and beneficiary features of the trust along with the management body and legal personality aspect of a company
What are the similarities and differences between a Trust and a Foundation?
The Trust and the Foundation rely on the same donor and beneficiary features whereby the Founder endows assets to the foundation for asset protection and proper management to the benefit of the beneficiaries. The most significant difference is that while the trust is simply an agreement between the relevant parties, a foundation is a legal person which can own property, sue and be sued, operate a bank account and so on. While the trust is managed by the Trustee, the foundation has a central body, the Foundation Council, responsible for the due administration and management of the foundation and its assets.
Who are the parties to a Belize International Foundation?
A Belize International Foundation consists of the Founder, Foundation Council and Beneficiaries. A Protector/Enforcer may also be appointed.
Are there any foundation annual fees in Belize? If so, what are they for?
Yes, there are annual maintenance fees which are due on the anniversary of the Foundation’s registration. These fees include: government fees; registered office fee; registered agent’s fee. There are other optional services which we provide. You can view our Foundation Fee Schedule for a list of additional services provided and their respective costs.
What documents do I get when I establish a Belize International foundation?
Once the registration process is completed, you will receive the original Registration Certificate, Foundation Charter, Bylaws (if applicable), Organizational Minutes, Foundation Seal (if requested) and Registers of Council Members, Founders, Officers, Protectors and Beneficiaries.
Can I establish a bank account for my Belize Foundation?
Yes, a Foundation is able to open and operate its own bank account. We can assist with this service as well.
What Are International Trusts?
No. The Belize foundation is required to keep internal books for its personal purposes only and there is no statutory requirement for annual summary or account filing with local authorities.
How long does it take to register a Belize international foundation?
Once you have submitted the completed application form along with the required due diligence documents and paid the fees, registration of the foundation will take about 3 days.