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Trusts & 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 Guernsey, Jersey, BVI and Cayman 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 integral 'one firm' attitude allows us to regularly work across different teams, departments and jurisdictions, meaning that every client benefits from the breadth of knowledge and experience of our experts 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 other international off and onshore jurisdictions prominent in the world of wealth management. We have associated skills in dispute resolution, risk and regulatory, and image protection. We ensure that thought has been given to the composition of the team on every piece of work we do, and use our mix of skill and experience effectively.

  • 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’.
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Trusts & Fiduciary services
Changes of Trustee/DORAs
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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
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At Collas Crill, we have established a wide range of charitable structures from local Guernsey LBGs through to large charitable foundations for some of the World's wealthiest families. Our specialist Middle Eastern Team also have experience in advising regional families on the Islamic charitable principle of Zakat.

Contentious Trusts
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We represent trust corporations, HNWIs, individual trustees and beneficiaries, often dealing with novel points of law and creating new and innovative solutions to fit the needs of our clients. Given the international scope of settlors, investments and assets, we often co-ordinate advice from our multi-jurisdictional teams, meaning that our clients benefit from the knowledge and depth of experience of our people around the globe.

Family Limited Partnerships
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Many individuals think of the traditional trust as being the best way to manage their estate planning needs. However, there is a growing client base from civil law jurisdictions unfamiliar with the trust concept launching alternative structures. Recent examples include foundations, private family funds and, increasingly, the Family Limited Partnership (FLP). While initially developed onshore, the concept of FLPs was also 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 patriarchs 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 so unpalatable. As the name implies, an FLP would be ideally suited to the wealthy family, as it is flexible enough to allow a very bespoke agreement to be put in place to cater for the often very detailed and prescriptive demands of clients who can afford and are used to having something tailor made.

Family Trusts & Foundations
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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-dom 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 & EBTs
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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 EBTs having regard to international legal and taxation requirements.

Pensions Specifically for Dubai Companies
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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 CSR aims by impact investing in very worthy causes both within the region and more widely.

Private Trust Companies & Private Trustee Foundations
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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
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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
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The duties of a trustee plays in managing the trust assets and dealing with beneficiaries not only vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but are 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 & Regulatory Management
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Developments, consolidations and regulation have means that effective risk management and mitigation has never been more important. Our advice is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, but rather is based on an individual company’s specific business model. By building a partnership with you we add value by providing to 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.

Insight 29 Jun 2021

The rise of the crypto-asset

An article by Guernsey Group Partner David Cooney has been published on Wealth Adviser. Entitled 'The rise of the crypto-asset: practical advice for trustees', the piece...

Insight 6 May 2021

Choose your jurisdiction wisely

This article was first published in STEP Journal (volume 29, issue 2, pp 31-33) The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands (the Court) has delivered a judgment that illustrates...

News 22 Apr 2021

The Ecclesiastical Court

In our update of June 2020, we confirmed that in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the States of Deliberation had approved the then Policy & Resources Committee's proposal to...

Deal 8 Mar 2021

The Ultimate Boss

Byers and others (Appellants) v Chen Ningning (Respondent) (British Virgin Islands) [2021] UKPC 4 Privy Council Appeal No 0082 of 2019 The Privy Council has found that a...

Insight 2 Mar 2021

Regulation and compliance issues

This article was produced by Andrew Peedom of Collas Crill and Michael Halsey of JTC  for Trust Cayman 2021. To view this publication in full, click here. Cayman has faced...

Deal 3 Feb 2021

Elementary, my dear Watson

The Royal Court of Jersey has issued a landmark judgment in Kea Investments Limited v Watson [2021] JRC 009, determining that it is not possible to obtain execution measures...

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Guide 29 Jan 2020

'Trust me' - What to inspect when you are expecting... a trust

The 'Trust me' series from Collas Crill's Guernsey International Private Client and Trust team is intended to highlight key considerations and provide practical pointers for...

Guide 29 May 2019

Jersey International Savings Plans

On 1 January 2019, Jersey introduced a new type of savings product called an International Savings Plan (ISP). Below, we have put together a quick Q&A about ISPs and how...

Guide 6 Nov 2018

Take Control of Your Future: Lasting Powers of Attorney and Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment

The Capacity and Self-Determination (Jersey) Law 2016 (the Law) came into force in October 2018, providing the legal framework to ensure individuals can 'take control' of...

Guide 16 Nov 2017

Variations Of Trusts – Balancing Interests

The recent Jersey case of In the Matter of the Representation of the Y Trust and the Z Trust [2017]JRC100 saw the Royal Court having to weigh up firmly held personal views...

Guide 6 Jul 2017

Charities Law in Jersey

Prior to 21 November 2014, Jersey looked to the case law of England and Wales for guidance in determining whether or not a particular purpose was a 'charitable...

Guide 26 May 2017

Trustees: pensions and employee benefit schemes in Guernsey

Both employers and trustees have a duty to ensure that any pension or employee benefit scheme (set up by them for their employees or administered by them, as the case may...

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