Services

Trust & Trustee Services

An offshore trust can help preserve your wealth while offering you greater flexibility over the management and distribution of your assets.

The most common type of fiduciary structure is a Trust, a binding arrangement whereby assets are transferred to a “Trustee” who is required to administer the Trust assets for the benefit of specified beneficiaries strictly in accordance with the terms of the Trust.

The provision of Offshore Trust services is not a purely mechanical and administrative role. Judgment and expertise are required. Trust law is a complex and demanding area. Our global offices have the requisite legal and accounting infrastructure to maintain a high level of professional expertise when setting up and administering a Trust on your behalf. 

Through OCRA Worldwide’s licensed Trust and Trustee companies, clients are offered:

  • A bespoke service regarding the establishment of an Offshore Trust
  • Trusteeship and related services
  • Administration of Trust funds
  • Trust accounting and maintenance of asset ledgers
  • Reporting and filing as appropriate
  • Advice and guidance

When considering the appointment of a OCRA Worldwide as your Trust & Trustee service provider, clients should also note the following advantages offered:

  • Independence – OCRA Worldwide has no conflicts of interest. Our Trustees always act in the best interests of the Beneficiaries of the Offshore Trust. We do not compromise that position. Thus, independence from investment, legal or accounting advisors is critical and should be an absolute requirement by persons seeking to establish a Trust.
  • Size and substance – OCRA Worldwide has been providing Trustee Services for over four decades. We are a professionally managed company. Compliance, corporate governance and the pursuit of quality are fundamental to everything we do. Our approach to business and client matters is prudent.
  • Value – Many believe that the costs of establishing and administering an Offshore Trust are prohibitive. It is true that many of the major banks and other financial institutions make sizeable charges for setting up an Offshore Trust and receive a percentage of the Trust assets in annual administration fees. Our fees are generally far more reasonable and we can therefore provide access to Trusts to those with relatively modest assets. As all cases are different, fees will differ, but they are probably a lot less than you thought.
  • Jurisdiction – Our dedicated Offshore Trust Company, OCRA Trustees (Seychelles) Limited acts as Trustees where the proper law is that of the Seychelles.

Frequently Asked Questions

A fiduciary structure such as an Offshore Trust can help to preserve wealth and offers a great deal of flexibility over the management and distribution of your assets.

The most widely used vehicle for asset protection is the Trust. A Trust is able to hold a variety of assets including immovable assets, stocks and shares, investment products, real and intellectual property, bank deposits and life insurance policies.

An Offshore Trust is created when assets are transferred to a Trustee. The Trustee becomes the legal owner and is responsible for managing the assets and distributing them to the beneficiaries of the Offshore Trust (which could include the person or corporation which transferred the assets to the trustees) in accordance with the terms of the Trust Deed.

The terms on which the Trustees administer the Trust assets are detailed in a Trust Deed and Trust legislation to govern Trusts has been enacted in many common law jurisdictions.

A Trust is the solution for individuals who:

  • Want to preserve their wealth against uncertainty, political, economic or family
  • Want to transfer wealth to their heirs in a tax-efficient manner
  • Want to plan their estate to maximize the benefits of their wealth for family members and others
  • Want to transfer wealth to their heirs in accordance with their wishes and not in accordance with the laws of the country where they live
  • Want to consolidate the ownership of assets owned throughout the world in one location
  • Want centralised reporting
  • Want to minimise or eliminate estate taxes arising on the death of the settlor

When a Trust is established in a suitable offshore jurisdiction, provided that residents of the offshore jurisdiction are excluded from receiving benefit from the offshore trust, then there will be no local taxes applicable to the assets and income of the trust.

Foundations are a very important component when structuring the ownership of family and corporate assets and are particularly important where Trusts are not generally recognised. They are in many respects similar to corporate entities but afford the protection and continuity derived from the use of Trusts.

A Foundation is the solution for individuals who:

  • Want to preserve their wealth against uncertainty; either political, economic or family related
  • Want to transfer wealth to their heirs in a tax-efficient manner.
  • Want to plan their estate to maximise the benefits of their wealth for family members and others
  • Want to transfer wealth to their heirs in accordance with their wishes and not in accordance with the laws of the country where they live
  • Want to consolidate the ownership of assets owned throughout the world in one location
  • Want centralised reporting
  • Want to minimise or eliminate estate taxes arising on the death of the founder

When a Foundation is established in a suitable offshore jurisdiction, provided that residents of the offshore jurisdiction are excluded from receiving benefit from the Foundation, then there will be no local taxes applicable to the assets and income of the Foundation.

Different types of offshore trust and their use

A trust is created when assets are transferred to a Trustee. The Trustee becomes the legal owner and is responsible for managing the assets and distributing them to the beneficiaries of the Offshore Trust (which may include the person or corporation which transferred the assets to the trustees) in accordance with the terms of the Trust Deed.

The terms on which the Trustees administer the trust assets are detailed in a Trust Deed and Trust legislation to govern Trusts has been enacted in many common law jurisdictions.

  • Shares and stocks in both quoted and unquoted companies
  • Investment portfolios
  • Real and intellectual property
  • Bank deposits
  • Life assurance policies issued on the life of the Settlor
  • Most other types of asset

When a Trust is established in a suitable offshore jurisdiction, provided that residents of the offshore jurisdiction are excluded from receiving benefit from the Offshore Trust, then there will be no local taxes applicable to the assets and income of the trust. An Offshore Trust also offers:

  • Private relationship
  • Wealth protection
  • Tailored to specific family requirements
  • Recognized in all common law jurisdictions
  • Increasing recognition in important civil law jurisdictions
  • An important tool in international income, capital gains and estate tax planning
  • Used by corporations for employee benefit plans, retirement and stock option schemes, insurance plans and special financing arrangements

A Trust is the solution for individuals who:

  • Want to preserve their wealth against uncertainty, political, economic or family
  • Want to transfer wealth to their heirs in a tax-efficient manner. They want to plan their estate to maximize the benefits of their wealth for family members and others
  • Want to transfer wealth to their heirs in accordance with their wishes and not in accordance with the laws of the country where they live
  • Want to consolidate the ownership of assets owned throughout the world in one location
  • Want centralised reporting
  • Want to minimise or eliminate estate taxes arising on the death of the Settlor

Trusts have their origins in medieval England when they were associated with knights making provision for their families when they went away to fight in the Crusades.

An offshore trust enables an individual (the “settlor”) to donate assets to a neutral third party or guardian (the “trustee”), who holds the assets and administers them for the benefit of other individuals nominated by the settlor and in many cases the settlor himself (the “beneficiaries”). An offshore trust arrangement is normally recorded in a written document (the “trust deed”).

The effect of creating an offshore trust is to shift the burden of property ownership onto a trustee, while retaining the benefit of the property for the beneficiaries.

An estate created under the will of a deceased person is a trust. A trust created by a person prior to death is known as an inter vivos trust. Most trusts created offshore are formed as inter vivos trusts.

As trusts are a creation of English common law, the most suitable location for an offshore trust is a jurisdiction which has English common law and equity as the foundation of its legal system.

An offshore trust may be established as either revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust may be terminated or varied by the Settlor either at the end of a specified period or at any time. An irrevocable trust cannot be terminated by the Settlor nor can the Settlor vary the terms of the trust. Whether a trust is established as revocable or irrevocable will depend upon the objectives and circumstances of the Settlor.

Both revocable and irrevocable offshore trusts may be either discretionary or fixed interest trusts. Under a fixed interest trust the interests of the beneficiaries are specifically fixed in the terms of the trust deed and the trustee has no power to vary those interests. A discretionary trust on the other hand gives the trustee the power to determine the allocation of income and capital amongst the members of the beneficiary class and to vary the membership of the beneficiary class. The flexibility provided by the discretionary form of trust is often necessary to satisfy tax planning objectives.

In the case of a discretionary trust, the trustees will have wide discretionary powers (although they may sometimes be constrained by the requirement for the consent of a third party or the protector), the trust deed will often be supplemented by an informal and confidential letter from the settlor or grantor to the trustees setting out his wishes on such matters as the amount and timing of distributions, investments, employment of advisers, those who should be regarded as primary beneficiaries and so forth. While this letter is non-binding and intended for the trustees’ guidance only, the trustees will generally respect the settlor or grantor’s wishes and strive to act in accordance with them.

Most offshore trusts fall into four broad categories:

  • Private: including discretionary, accumulation and maintenance, life interest and fixed interest Trusts
  • Corporate: including pension and employee benefit Trusts
  • Charitable: solely for the benefit of charitable organisations
  • Purpose: Trusts with no beneficiaries that are established for purposes that are certain, reasonable and possible
  • Modern Offshore Trust Deeds can be tailored to meet your specific requirements (Generally they are worded in the widest possible terms to allow a trustee scope to respond to changing circumstances and requirements)

Discretionary Trusts

The most flexible form of offshore trust and used in wealth protection and tax planning. A discretionary offshore trust will normally allow the Trustees to appoint additional beneficiaries or to remove existing beneficiaries, and will usually also allow the Trustees to distribute the income and capital of the trust to the beneficiaries in varying amounts and at various times. When a Settlor establishes a discretionary offshore trust he will generally provide the Trustees with a Letter of Wishes, which provides guidance to the Trustees on how he would like them to administer the trust and manage the assets.

Interest in Possession Trusts

These differ from discretionary trusts in that the beneficiaries will be entitled to receive income and capital from the trust as detailed in the trust deed.

Accumulation and Maintenance Trusts

Almost always established for the benefit of children. The offshore trust deed will specify that the trust fund be used for the education and maintenance of the children up to a certain age with surplus income being accumulated by the offshore trust. Once a predetermined age has been reached the beneficiaries will be entitled to receive income and capital from the offshore trust as detailed in the trust deed.

A PTC is an entity whose sole purpose is to act as trustee in relation to a specific trust or trusts and for individuals wishing to manage their own Trust Company, usually for family members. The PTC is run by its board of directors and cannot provide Trustee services for commercial purposes.

Benefits of PTC?

  • Control: The most common use of a PTC is to act as trustee of a purpose trust or a discretionary trust which holds shares in a family enterprise. Settlors of such trusts who wish to keep control of the company themselves, and simply desire that the trustees retain such shares.
  • Continuity of Trustee Services: Family members on the board remain as Trustees with only administration agreements varying with service providers.
  • Confidentiality: ownership of the structure can remain confidential when structured with the use of, for example, a purpose trust.
  • Trustee flexibility: PTCs can provide for riskier investments to be included in the structure which may be cumbersome with professional Trustees.

British Virgin Islands PTC

In accordance with the Regulations, in BVI a private trust company is: “a company: that is a qualifying BVI company; that is a limited company within the meaning of the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004; and the memorandum of which states that it is a private trust company

The legislation has been altered in advance to allow the phrase “PTC” to be included in the name of a company engaged in such business.

PTCs are to be exempt where they are unremunerated, and fall within the exemption if they are able to satisfy the definition as follows: Trust business carried on by a private trust company is unremunerated trust business if no remuneration is payable to, or received by, the private trust company, or any person associated with the private trust company, in consideration for, or with respect to, the services that constitute the trust business. “Remuneration” includes money or any other form of property; and it is immaterial whether remuneration is payable or received out of the assets, or underlying assets, of a relevant trust from the settlor or beneficiary of a relevant trust; or from any other person pursuant to an arrangement with the settlor or beneficiary of a relevant trust.

Mauritius PTC

There is no specific legislation in Mauritius relating to the PTC but the FSC has issued rules and guidelines where a private company can act as Trustee for a limited number of Trust, provided those structure is merely for the benefit of a family member of a related family member and the PTC cannot act as a Trustee for a Trust where it derives any commercial benefits.

Furthermore, the PTC must appoint a licensed management company as administrator, who shall administer the Trust for and on behalf of the client.

Features of the Mauritius PTC Regime:

  • A PTC can be set up either as a Mauritius Global Business Licence (GBC)
  • The PTC must be set up by a licensed Management Company
  • The PTC must adhere to conditions set out by the Financial Services Commission
  • The PTC does NOT need to be licensed as a Corporate / Qualified Trustee

The PTC is required to:

  • Restrict its activities to that of private trust business services
  • Maintain a minimum paid up capital of US$5,000 at all times
  • Provide its private trust business services solely to connected persons
  • Never solicit trust business from, or provide trust business services to, the public
  • Appoint a duly licensed Management Company to carry out its trust administration services in relation to any express trust to which it is a trustee
  • Appoint the Management Company as Company Secretary
  • Adhere to the AML/CFT Framework

This is essentially a discretionary trust where the assets are placed to shelter them from potential future claims. These have increased in use in recent years with the rapid increase, primarily in the USA, of litigation against professional firms and the medical profession.

This straight-forward trust is set up to provide protection from any type of future claim, including creditors’ claims, claims in a divorce settlement and judgments. In order for this trust to provide the maximum level of protection, it needs to be an irrevocable discretionary trust. This means that the power to appoint any part of the trust fund will remain at the full discretion of the trustee.

Depending on the proper law under which the trust is set up, the assets transferred into trust will be sheltered from any potential claim after a set number of years.

Who is it for?

  • Those who are at the front line and vulnerable to litigation claims
  • Those who are involved in various business deals and who wish to protect assets from the claims of creditors

Benefits

  • Protects assets against creditor and divorce claims
  • Can help reduce the taxable estate of the settlor

Proposed Vehicle

Seychelles International Trust

Taxation

Only in resident state of beneficiaries

How to proceed

We would welcome the opportunity to assist you with more information:

Contact us for a FREE consultation if you would like to discuss your requirements with one of our consultants in person.
Alternatively, complete our Online Questionnaire and a consultant will contact you directly.
For professional intermediaries and repeat orders, download the relevant Application Form and return by fax or email.