The International Trusts Act 1987 (IT Act) provides for the creation and recognition of trusts under Samoan law.  The general law of trusts in Samoa is that derived from the English Courts of Equity.

Creation

Trusts must be registered under the IT Act.  A trust may include dispositions or settlements of trust property, powers in nature of trust coupled with a trust, powers of appointment whether intervivos or testamentary and implied or constructive trust.

There is a definitive ordering in which the law is to be applied in Samoa under the IT Act. Courts shall apply the IT Act, then English Common Law and Equity at the time in force in Samoa where not excluded by the IT Act, the law of any foreign country of the execution of the trust, the trustees residence or domicile, the trust property or where the settlor, beneficiaries are normally resident or domiciled.

Samoa Trust Legal Requirements

Samoa Trust

Corporate Details

Restricted

  • Type of Entity

Trust

  • Registered Office in Samoa

Yes

Share capital or equivalent

  • Standard currency

USD

  • Permitted currencies

Any

  • Minimum paid up

None

Trustee

  • Minimum number

One

  • Corporate directorship allowed

Yes

Protector

  • Minimum number

One

  • Corporate shareholder allowed

NA

Accounts

  • Requirements to prepare

Yes

  • Audit requirements

No

  • Requirements to file accounts

No

 Exemption from Taxes

Trusts are completely tax free as long as the settlor or any of the beneficiaries are not resident in Samoa and the trust does not transact in Samoa except for banking business.

Duration of Set up

2 Weeks

Benefits of Samoan Trust

  1. Form: The Trust can be in any language provided there is a proper English translation: This is unique to Samoa.
  2. Protection against foreign succession rules: There are provisions preventing the enforcement of foreign judgments in Samoa with regard to foreign succession rules or claims in foreign matrimonial proceedings, which are as good as in any other jurisdiction.
  3. Duration of a Trust: This concerns the period during which a Trust can validly continue. Like only Labuan, Samoa offers total flexibility. The Trust can continue indefinitely or it can last for a fixed period.
  4. Accumulation of income: Income can be accumulated throughout the continuation of a Trust.
  5. Parties to the Trust: Detailed provisions are made for both a Protector and an Enforcer (of a Purpose Trust). There are specific and useful default powers exercisable by a Protector, which will apply if the Trust is silent in that respect.
  6. Trustees’ powers: Provision is made for a statutory duty of care to be observed by Trustees in the exercise of certain powers. This can be contracted out of in the terms of the Trust Deed.

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