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Trusts and Fiduciary

With a growing emphasis on regulation and governance, both independent and bank-owned trust and fiduciary businesses continue to face a challenging and competitive environment. 

It is important to work with a law firm that can help you meet your objectives and overcome the challenges of the current regulatory landscape.

We work closely with trust and fiduciary businesses and their clients to build strong relationships based on trust, confidence and a deep understanding of their priorities and needs.

We have many years of experience in providing trusts, foundations and other fiduciary services using BVI, Cayman, Guernsey and Jersey law - jurisdictions which are collectively recognised as leaders in the provision of offshore fiduciary services.

Our strong global presence and unique network of offices allows us to offer non-contentious, semi-contentious and contentious support seamlessly across time zones and our global full service team offers clients breadth and depth of experience around the world. 

We have an extensive range of experience in terms of particular products or service lines, including pensions and Shariah, and many of the team have worked in the world of wealth management in other prominent offshore and onshore jurisdictions. We have associated skills in dispute resolution, risk and regulatory, and image protection. We give thought to the composition of the team on every piece of work we do to ensure clients get the most out of our skill and experience. 

  • Collas Crill are excellent. They have a good speed and quality of response and they think outside the box.
    Chambers and Partners
  • Serious in-depth knowledge, clear thinking, innovative.
    Legal 500 (UK) 2024
  • Collas Crill’s Private Client lawyers work exceptionally well as a team offering clear and pragmatic advice.
    Legal 500
  • The ‘experts’ at Collas Crill are ‘knowledgeable, thorough and approachable’.
    Legal 500
  • Their team showed tremendous experience in dealing with the Trust’s representatives and reach a suitable agreement for the client, by dealing with the Trust. This is a team dedicated to client services.
    Legal 500 2022
  • The team is excellent, offering very responsive, commercial and accurate advice with great client skills and attention. Well integrated into the firm’s litigation offering and so giving a seamless, comprehensive service.
    Legal 500 (UK) 2024
  • They are extremely prompt on service and they're a lovely group to work with.
    Chamber and Partners
Trusts and Fiduciary services
Changes of Trustee/DORAs

Changes of trustee documents (DORA or IORAs) usually contain indemnities from the incoming trustee to the outgoing trustee which are often hotly negotiated and can be complex. A change of trustee also presents a good opportunity for the incoming trustee to undertake a due diligence exercise by reviewing the trust documents, ensuring that the previous chain of trusteeship is intact and ensuring that the outgoing trustee ratifies or rectifies any flaws in the trust or the trust documents before the trusteeship is handed over. We have considerable experience in narrowing the issues in these negotiations. We are also well versed in assisting our trustee clients in mitigating risk by spotting (sometimes very significant flaws) in trusts before they are taken on and by ratifying previous discrepancies in a commercial manner – commonly without necessitating the involvement of the court.

Charities, Philanthropy & Zakat

At Collas Crill, we have established a wide range of charitable structures from local Guernsey limited by guarantee companies to large charitable foundations for some of the world's wealthiest families. Our specialist Middle Eastern team also has experience in advising regional families on the principle of Zakat.

Contentious Trusts

We represent trust corporations, high net worth individuals, individual trustees and beneficiaries, often dealing with novel points of law and creating new and innovative solutions to fit the needs of our clients. We work as a global team and, given the international scope of settlors, investments and assets, clients benefit from the knowledge and depth of experience of our people around the world.

Family Limited Partnerships

Many individuals think of the traditional trust as being the best way to manage their estate planning needs and are unfamiliar with the alternatives that are available. These include foundations, private family funds and, increasingly, the family limited partnership (FLP). While initially developed onshore, the FLP harnessed and developed offshore in the Channel Islands as a flexible investment structure and a viable alternative to the traditional trust due to its ability to transmit wealth to younger generations while allowing family heads to retain a sensible level of control. This is particularly important for clients using the FLP to transfer the family business or 'golden egg', where a loss of control is undesirable. A FLP is flexible enough to allow a very bespoke agreement to be put in place to meet the often very detailed and personalised demands of clients.

Family Trusts and Foundations

Alongside companies and wills, family trusts are still a very popular tool for estate planning and asset protection – perhaps even more so in the light of the envisaged changes to the UK non-domiciled regime. Family foundations are proving to be a popular new tool for families looking to ensure their wealth and assets are protected for future generations. We establish trusts and foundations for local and international families to preserve family businesses and ensure appropriate succession planning. We work closely with tax advisers in order to ensure that any new family trust or foundation fits with a family's overall tax position and will be a workable long term, cost efficient structure. Discretionary trusts are still the most popular but we can also advise on fixed trusts, will trusts and pension trusts.

International Pensions and EBTs

We advise internationally based companies and trustees on the establishment and operation of employee incentive schemes, addressing issues such as the funding and structuring of awards as between sponsoring employer and trustee, treatment of dividend entitlements for share awards and the formulation of the beneficial class of employee benefit trusts having regard to international legal and taxation requirements.

Pensions Specifically for Dubai Companies

Dubai has no specific pensions law as such but Dubai-based companies do need to plan for and fund end of service gratuity payments. Instead of a pension, local laws require companies to make a severance payment when employees leave the business This can be a significant liability to fund and can often come at the most unwelcome of times such as during an economic downturn. Companies who have failed to set money aside to meet these payments have historically been unable to afford to reduce headcount as they have not planned or budgeted for severance payments. Although it is difficult for some smaller firms to set money aside to fund their entire historic liability, it is never too late to start setting aside at least some provision for this potentially large liability. If done well, these end-of-service schemes can be self-funding and can also achieve a company's ESG aims by investing in very worthy causes both within the region and more widely.

Private Trust Companies and Private Trustee Foundations

Private trust companies (PTC) and private trustee foundations (PTF) are an ideal solution for clients wanting to divest themselves of ownership while still retaining a level of control. A PTC, or its most recent incarnation, the PTF, is a corporate vehicle which is used by a family in place of a professional trustee so that the family themselves can control the board of the trustee and thereby control the underlying assets.

Reporting Obligations for Trustees

In a climate of increased transparency for structures, it is important for trustees to ensure that they have sufficient policies, procedures and processes in place in order to report the correct data to the correct authority at the correct time. This has been particularly challenging for some of our smaller independent trustee clients who do not have a dedicated compliance team.

Trustee Duties

The part a trustee plays in managing the trust assets and dealing with beneficiaries not only varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but is dictated by trust agreement and its nuances, the type of trust and its specific purpose. Advising on trustee duties is a rapidly growing area given the increasingly complex legal and regulatory framework to which trustees must adhere. Importantly, trustees are becoming increasingly aware of the advantages of acting early and seeking advice on their duties – particularly in situations of potential conflict or stress. Trustees are also making more use of the courts in asking for directions or in having "momentous decisions" blessed.

Trustee Risk and Regulatory Management

Developments, consolidations and regulation mean that effective risk management and mitigation has never been more important. Our advice is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, but rather based on an individual company’s specific business model. By building a partnership with you we can provide trustees with a range of regulatory advice, administration support, products and services within a dedicated team approach, precedent development and on-going education and industry updates. Together with our multi-disciplinary risk and regulatory team, we advise on anti-money laundering laws and the regulation of trust companies and can assist in the creation and improvement of straightforward operating procedures, including checklists, designed in conjunction with the needs of a trustee to ensure that all members of staff, no matter what their experience, can provide consistent and accurate back office services.

News 14 Nov 2023

Legal 500 Caribbean 2024 guide

Collas Crill's teams in the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands have received a solid set of results in the latest Legal 500 directory. In the BVI the dispute...

News 2 Nov 2023

Collas Crill retains tier 1 status

Collas Crill has once again been ranked as tier 1 by eprivateclient in its Top Offshore Law Firms listing. With lawyers based in Cayman, Guernsey and Jersey the firm's...

News 5 Oct 2023

James Badcock joins as Consultant

Collas Crill has appointed James Badcock as a Consultant in its International Private Client and Trusts (IPCT) team in the Channel Islands. James has been brought in to...

Life & Careers 28 Sep 2023

Newly qualified lawyers in the CI

Collas Crill is proud to announce three newly qualified lawyers in the Channel Islands.  Jessica Burgess and Laura Smith from Guernsey and Millie Thompson from Jersey have...

News 2 Aug 2023

Reports Legal offshore report

Reports Legal has published its latest Offshore Report which focuses on Jersey. In it Editor Dominic Carman interviews the managing partners of Jersey's elite law firms to...

Life & Careers 21 Jul 2023

Chambers HNW Guide 2023

Collas Crill's Private Client teams in the Channel Islands have once again featured in the Chambers High Net Worth Guide, the guide for go-to individuals and firms in the...

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Guide 8 Feb 2022

A practical guide to Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) in Guernsey

Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) have been a feature of the Guernsey trust landscape for many years now. EBT is something of an umbrella term that can be used to describe lots...

Guide 20 Jan 2022

Collas Crill explains... Termination of a trust

This is part of a series of guides in which we examine areas of law that frequently arise in practice. Further guides will be released weekly; click here to subscribe to...

Guide 3 Nov 2021

Collas Crill explains... Trustee liens

This is part of a series of guides in which we examine areas of law that frequently arise in practice. Further guides will be released weekly; click here to subscribe to...

Guide 23 Sep 2021

Collas Crill explains… Changing the proper law of a Guernsey trust

This is part of a series of guides in which we examine areas of law that frequently arise in practice. Further guides will be released weekly; click here to subscribe to...

Guide 4 Aug 2021

Collas Crill explains... Reserved powers

This is part of a series of guides in which we examine areas of law that frequently arise in practice. Further guides will be released weekly; click here to subscribe to...

Guide 2 Jun 2021

Collas Crill explains… Duties of a trustee under Guernsey law

This is part of a series of guides in which we examine areas of law that frequently arise in practice. Further guides will be released weekly; click here to subscribe to...

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Event 18 Jan 2024

TL4 Practitioners' Forum

Partner Ben Havard will be speaking at the Thought Leaders 4 Private Client 2024 Practitioners' Forum on 'Stress Testing Trust Structures' in London on the 18th...

Event 15 Feb 2024

TL4 HNW Divorce forum

Partner Ben Havard has been invited to speak at the Thought Leaders 4 HNW Divorce first annual Practitioner's Forum on 'Trusts in Divorce', the only event to bring together...

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