Bahamian trust law is based on English common law, and the Bahamian Trustee Act 1893. In the last 15 or so years the Bahamas have extended and adapted their trust laws, most recently with a new Trustee Act 1998, to accommodate a wider market, which is not necessarily interested so much just in tax avoidance, but also in the efficient management of wealth in a more general sense. The Trust (Choice of Governing Law) Act 1989 gives protection to Bahamian trusts and their settlors in civil law countries against forced inheritance claims. The Act makes Bahamian law the proper law of a trust if the deed so declares, and makes the trust immune to foreign judgements.

Key Features of a Bahamas Non-Resident Trust

Bahamas Non-Resident Trust

Corporate Details

General

  • Type of entity

Non-Resident Trust

  • Type of law

Follow English law/As per Trust Deed

  • Our time to establish a Trust

2 weeks

  • Taxation of trust assets

None

  • Limitation period for action against Trustee

2 years from date of establishment of trust

  • Duration

100 years (except: charitable international trust or a purpose international trust)

  • Legal Framework

The Bahamas Non-Resident Trust is governed by the Trustee Act 1998.

  • Registration Requirements

There is no requirement for the registration of the Bahamas Non-Resident Trust as long as it does not hold any Bahamian real estate.

  • Settlor

The Settlor should not be a permanent resident of the Bahamas.

  • Beneficiary

The Beneficiary should not be a permanent resident of the Bahamas.

  • Trustee

The Trustee should be a licensed trustee resident in the Bahamas.

  • Protector

The appointment of a Protector is optional.

  • Protector

The property of the Bahamas Non-Resident Trust International Trust should not include immovable property situated in the Bahamas or shares in a company owning immovable property situated in the Bahamas.

  • Confidentiality

As there are no registration requirements for a Bahamas Non-Resident Trust the details of the Settlor and Beneficiaries are not disclosed to any person other than the Trustee.

  • Taxation

The Bahamas Non-Resident Trust is exempt from taxation.

Distributions to foreign beneficiaries from a Bahamas Non-Resident Trust are not taxable in the Bahamas in the hands of the beneficiaries.

  • Asset protection

The Bahamas Non-Resident Trust will not be void or voidable in the event of the Settlor’s bankruptcy or liquidation thus achieving asset protection from creditors. However, the Trust may be set aside by its Creditors if it is proven to the satisfaction of a Bahamian court that the trust was made by the Settlor with the intent to defraud its creditors.

  • Reporting Requirements

There are no reporting requirements for a Bahamas Non-Resident Trust.

Trust asset

  • Restriction on type/amount

No, except property situated in Bahamas

  • Protection

Protected from Creditors

 Trustee   

  • Minimum number

1 if corporate and 2 or more if not corporate

  • Qualification

Minimum one Bahamas resident

Accounts

  • Requirement to file

No

  • Publicly accessible

No

Bahamas Non-Resident Trust Distinctive Benefits

  • Flexibility in the distribution of the client’s assets following his or her death;
  • Wealth preservation for the next generation;
  • Separation of income benefits from capital;
  • Avoidance of lengthy and complicated probate court procedures;
  • Retention of shares for employees;
  • Confidentiality;
  • Maintenance of property for those who cannot hold it for themselves, eg, minors;
  • Avoidance of disputes among heirs and beneficiaries by securing the services of an impartial person to administer assets; and
  • Protection of property and assets from legal and political actions that may be taken against the settlor and beneficiaries by transferring legal ownership to the trustee.

The Valsen Advantage

  1. End to end comprehensive service
  2. Speedy and efficient service
  3. Expert advice on structuring options
  4. Dedicated ongoing compliance support
  5. Extensive network pool of service providers