Guernsey Trusts Law marks ten years of operation

19/03/2018 News Team

The Guernsey Trusts Law has marked ten years of operating since coming into full effect on 17 March 2008. 

The legislation, which replaced the Trusts (Guernsey) Law in 1989, was designed to create a more flexible framework for the local trust industry and to provide better protection for both settlors and trustees. 

The Trusts (Guernsey) Law remains a reminder of the jurisdiction's ability to innovate and to adapt to changing market conditions, according to trust and fiduciary lawyer Russell Clark who heads up the trust and private wealth practice at Carey Olsen.

Mr Clark said: "Since its inception in 1989, the Guernsey Trusts Law has been extremely welcome and robust legislation that has helped to underpin the development of the fiduciary industry in Guernsey.

"We have continued to improve it and tweak it over time and are now seeing many of the changes introduced in 2008 being copied elsewhere. For example, Jersey is now looking to introduce a 'non-possessory lien' along the same lines of that which we introduced in the 2007 revision."

In addition to clarification around the position of retiring trustees which saw Guernsey create a 'non-possessory lien' over trust assets in favour of retiring trustees, other key changes brought in ten years ago included the introduction of purpose trusts, a removal of limits on the length of a trust's duration and clarification around the rights of beneficiaries to information.

Mr Clark continued: “Clarifying the circumstances under which information has to be given to beneficiaries was a notable element of the Guernsey Trust Law and one that was becoming increasingly pertinent for many settlors.

"There is often concern amongst the very wealthy, particularly those who are self-made that if successive generations rely upon the family wealth, rather than making their own way in the world, then this may be an impediment to the development and character of the younger generation and their drive and ambition.”

Offshore law firm, Carey Olsen, is a member of a new working party tasked with reviewing the current law, as it was when the 2008 law itself was introduced.

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