Panama: Offshore Trusts Guide
Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
The first trust law in Panama was adopted in the 1940s, based on the common law trust. However, in 1984 new provisions on trusts were enacted by means of Law No. 1 of January 5th.
Panamanian trusts (Fideicomiso) must be expressed in writing, so cannot be constructive. Trusts can be stated to be revocable but otherwise are irrevocable. The settlor, trustees and beneficiaries need not be Panamanian nationals or resident in Panama. Both the settlor and the trustee and/or beneficiary may be a corporation.
A Panamanian lawyer must act as an agent for the trust. Trusts may be settled in respect of existing or future property; additional property may be included after the settlement either by the settlor or a third party.
There are no registration or minimum capital requirements, or fees, and trust documents can be in English or Spanish. Trusts are not protected by specific provisions against foreign inheritance laws, judgements or creditors.