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Belize Trusts

Belize Trusts

June 2012

What is a Trust?

A Trust is an arrangement whereby assets are managed by one person or organization for the benefit of another. A trust is created by a settlor, who entrusts some or all of their assets to people of their choice (known as Trustee). The trustees hold legal title to the trust property, but they are obliged to hold the property for the benefit of one or more individuals or organizations (known as the beneficiaries), usually specified by the settlor, who hold equitable title. The trustees have a fiduciary to the beneficiaries, who are the “beneficial” owners of the trust property. The Protector is appointed by the Settlor to intercede between the Trustees, settler and beneficiary. A Trust is governed by the terms of the trust deed. The trustee is obligated to administer the trust in accordance with the terms of the trust deed.

Belize International Trusts are regulated by the Trusts (Amendment) Act, 2007, which established the International Trusts Registry and provides for compulsory registration of all international trust. An International Trust which is not so registered shall be invalid and unenforceable.

The Trusts (Amendment) Act, 2007 describes and International Trust where:

• The settlor is not resident in Belize,
• The beneficiaries are also not resident in Belize, and
• The trust property does not include any land situated in Belize.
• The law of Belize is selected as the proper law of the trust; and
• In case of a purpose trust, the purpose or object of the trust is to be pursued or performed outside of Belize.

Some benefits of Belize International Trusts are as follows:

• Exemption of taxes – A Belize International Trust is not subject to any taxes in Belize regardless of where its income is earned. The Trust shall be exempt from the provisions of the Income and Business Tax Act; no estate, inheritance, succession or gift tax or duty shall be payable with respect to the trust property by reason of any death of any person; and all instrument relating to the trust property or to transactions carried out by the trustee on behalf of the trust shall be exempt from stamp duty.

• No exchange control restrictions

• No requirement to file any returns

• Registration – fast and efficient, must be register within 90 days of the date of creation of the
Trust. An international trust which is not registered shall be invalid and unenforceable.

• Any Language – Trusts can be registered in any language provided that it is accompanied by a
certified English Translation and this English translation shall be treated as the authoritative text.

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