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Cook Islands: Types of Company

Trusts

Cook Island trusts are known locally as International Trusts and are governed by the provisions of the International Trusts Act 1984 (the Act). All International Trusts must have non resident beneficiaries and a resident licensed trustee, although it is possible to appoint the local trustee to be only a custodian, with executive trusteeship exercised overseas. The Act requires that the local trustee must register a trust within 45 days of its creation and must certify that the trust is an International Trust under the Act.

The Act contains strict confidentiality provisions, subject only to some exceptions where criminal conduct is suspected. See Provision of Information for further details.

The Act, as amended, provides a thoroughly modern and flexible trust regime. Some of the key features of Cook Islands trusts are as follows:

  • The Act has abolished the perpetuity period rule;
  • Only the judgments of New Zealand courts can be enforced in the Cook Islands;
  • The rule against accumulations has been abolished in the Cook Islands;
  • The common law rule against purpose trusts has been abolished in the Cook Islands;
  • The definition of what does and what does not constitute a charitable trust has been extended in the Cook Islands;
  • A disposition can be set aside only in very limited circumstances;
  • Majority decisions by trustees are permitted;
  • Re-domiciliation of trusts is permitted.

The International Trusts (Forms and Fees) Amendment Regulations 2011 prescribes a USD300 fee on application to register a trust and a USD300 fee to renew the registration.

See Law of Offshore for a fuller description of the legal regime for Trusts in the Cook Islands. See Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes for further details of the tax position of of Cook Islands trusts.

A company offering trust services must obtain a licence. See Offshore Business Sectors: Trust Management.

Cook Island trusts are known locally as International Trusts and are governed by the provisions of the International Trusts Act 1984 (the Act). All International Trusts must have non resident beneficiaries and a resident licensed trustee, although it is possible to appoint the local trustee to be only a custodian, with executive trusteeship exercised overseas. The Act requires that the local trustee must register a trust within 45 days of its creation and must certify that the trust is an International Trust under the Act.

The Act contains strict confidentiality provisions, subject only to some exceptions where criminal conduct is suspected. See Provision of Information for further details.

The Act, as amended, provides a thoroughly modern and flexible trust regime. Some of the key features of Cook Islands trusts are as follows:

  • The Act has abolished the perpetuity period rule;
  • Only the judgments of New Zealand courts can be enforced in the Cook Islands;
  • The rule against accumulations has been abolished in the Cook Islands;
  • The common law rule against purpose trusts has been abolished in the Cook Islands;
  • The definition of what does and what does not constitute a charitable trust has been extended in the Cook Islands;
  • A disposition can be set aside only in very limited circumstances;
  • Majority decisions by trustees are permitted;
  • Re-domiciliation of trusts is permitted.

The International Trusts (Forms and Fees) Amendment Regulations 2011 prescribes a USD300 fee on application to register a trust and a USD300 fee to renew the registration.

See Law of Offshore for a fuller description of the legal regime for Trusts in the Cook Islands. See Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes for further details of the tax position of of Cook Islands trusts.

A company offering trust services must obtain a licence. See Offshore Business Sectors: Trust Management

 

 

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