BVI Trust legislation changes Virgin Islands Special Trust Act, 2003 Features of the VISTA Trust VISTA Trust Considerations

Changes of the Trust Legislation in BVI

As an established offshore financial centre, the British Virgin Islands has seen the importance of developing its business further by following the legal and political developments in the rest of the world. That is why, in 2003 BVI decided to make comprehensive changes in its legislation, particularly in the trust statutes, in order to modify BVI purpose trusts and update their conflict of laws provisions, to provide clearer rules for the variation of trusts and, especially, to introduce a new form of trust, - the VISTA trust.

The Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act 2003 ("VISTA") received consent on 17 October 2003 and came into force on 1 March 2004. VISTA contains many provisions which a settlor may feel are suitable in the establishment of a new VISTA trust.

The VISTA regime must be specifically stated to be applied in each particular case, because it does not apply generally to all trusts established in BVI.

It is possible to establish a general trust, which contains VISTA provisions in respect of certain designated shares only. However, although VISTA trust elements may be drafted into an ordinary discretionary trust of which there is more than one trustee, in VISTA trust the trustee can only be licensed entity and it must act alone in dealing with the designated shares.

VISTA trust is not functioning for a long time, so it is yet difficult to say how this extremely flexible form of trust will be utilized. In personal estate planning it can be naturally used in dealing with the separation and succession of ownership of company assets; in corporate planning the use of VISTA trust may include special purpose vehicles and "blind trusts" for politicians.