Travelling advisers, settlors and trusts in the age of autonomy
The International Family Offices Journal
Vol. 2 - Iss. 3 pp. 53–61
A leading international trust adviser, with law firm experience in Bermuda, Guernsey and Montreal, Michael is an insightful observer of movements in the trust field. Always innovative, he offers an excellent critique of the multitude of choices for trust jurisdictions. He sets the stage: ?The choice of a sensible jurisdiction with a sound law of trusts for the establishment of an international trust structure does not matter when sham is secretly schemed or where structures are illusory or chimerical, and it does not matter when there is no intent to administer or to sustain the trust fully in accordance with the terms of the instrument. In every other situation, it matters greatly.? The author reviews the many factors that are important to a settlor, including control and the choice or choices of governing law. He refers to ?the thrilling yesteryear of the offshore, when it was convincingly contended that the establishment of an international trust structure would yield copious benefits, specifically heightened privacy and confidentiality, centralised global investment, a safe haven for aggressive tax planning, protection from claims by creditors and family members (notably, rapacious spouses), non-recognition of forced heirship regimes, ideal family office administration, resistance to the enforcement of foreign judgments and innovative trust devices. There was a robust culture of non-compliance and non-cooperation.? He notes - those days are over. What is needed now, and what he provides, is a rigorous examination of the various options in key jurisdictions.