Nevis: Law of Offshore
Nevis offshore trusts are formed under the Nevis International Exempt Trust Ordinance of 1994, as amended to September 2000. The Trust Ordinance includes special provisions to enhance the use of Nevis as a preferred jurisdiction for the establishment of Asset Protection Trusts.
Highlights of the Trust Ordinance include:
- Exemption from all forms of Nevis taxation and exchange controls provided that transactions take place only with non-residents;
- The trustee may be either a trust company licensed to do business in Nevis or a company incorporated under the Corporation Ordinance;
- The proper law may be the law of Nevis or the law of another jurisdiction;
- The rule against perpetuities does not apply; Forced heirship rules are specifically excluded; Spendthrift and charitable trusts are permitted;
- There is a USD25,000 bond requirement prior to the commencement of an action or proceeding against trust property;
- There is no registration requirement other than for the Trust's name, name of Trustee and the registered office address;
- Settlor and Beneficiary must be non-residents and may be the same person;
- One trustee must be a Nevis offshore company or a trust licensed company;
- Protectors are allowed for and may be the same person as the Settlor and Beneficiary of the Trust;
- An IET is valid and enforceable notwithstanding that it may be invalid according to the law of the Settlor's domicile or residence or place of current incorporation;
- The Trust is not considered fraudulent if settled up to 2 years after the date of the creditor's cause of action;
- The creditor must prove the intent of the debtor to defraud with "clear and convincing" evidence;
- The Statute of Queen Elizabeth is excluded.
The Nevis registrar maintains a register of international trusts and a register of qualified foreign trusts. Where a trust provides for the law of Nevis to be the governing law of all or any aspects of that trust an application for entry on the register as an international trust shall be made to the registrar within 45 days of the date on which the trust is created, settled or established. Where a trust provides for the law of a jurisdiction other than the Island of Nevis to be the governing law of all aspects of that trust an application for entry on the register as a qualified foreign trust shall be made to the registrar within 45 days of the date on which the trust is created, settled or established. An application for registration should be accompanied by notice of the name and registered office of the trust, a certificate from a trustee company, a barrister or solicitor certifying that the trust upon registration will be an international trust or a qualified foreign trust, the date on which the trust was created, settled or established, and in the case of a qualified foreign trust, the law under which the trust was settled. Registration has to be renewed annually.
The register is not open for inspection except that a trustee of a trust may in writing authorise a person to inspect the entry of that trust on the register.
A trust registered under the Nevis Ordinance is exempt from all income tax, all estate, inheritance, succession and gift tax payable with respect to the trust property by reason of any death, stamp duty with respect to all instruments relating to the trust property or to transactions carried out by the trustee on behalf of the trust, and all exchange controls.