BVI introduced new legislation amending trust and estate law

The British Virgin Islands government has introduced significant changes to its trust and estate law through five new statutes:

  1. the Trustee (Amendment) Act 2021;
  2. the Virgin Islands Special Trusts (Amendment) Act 2021;
  3. the Probate (Resealing) Act 2021;
  4. the Administration of Small Estates (Amendment) Act 2021;
  5. the Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021.

Specifically, The Trustee (Amendment) Act 2021 introduces a series of settlor’s reserved powers (including the conferral of powers by the settlor to third parties) which will not invalidate the trust or cause any of its property to become part of the settlor’s estate on death. These provisions have the aim to attract settlors from civil law jurisdiction which rely on discretionary trusts where the trustees have wide powers.

Further amendments have also been made to firewall provisions protecting BVI trusts against forced-heirship and matrimonial claims in foreign countries, clarifying that all questions and claims regarding BVI’s trusts shall be determined by BVI law.