The Seychelles International (Offshore) Trust Vehicle

Seychelles international trusts provide a secure means of protection for personal and business investments. Offshore trusts in Seychelles are regulated by the Trusts Act which was passed in 1994.

According to the International Trusts Act 1994, a Seychelles offshore trust is defined as a legal relationship which arises where property is vested or deemed to be vested in, or is held by or deemed to be held by, but does not form part of the estate of, a person known as a trustee.

The person benefitting from an offshore trust is known as the beneficiary and does not have to be identified or existent at the time of establishing the trust. A Seychelles offshore trust can also be established for charitable reasons that are related to protecting the environment, human rights, religion and other social or political matters. Other offshore trusts with specific purposes can be established for trade such as a Commercial Trust, managing cash deposits – a Cash Deposit Trust, or, for life insurance, such as a Life Insurance Trust; and another type of offshore trust for the management of different funds or employee plans.

Seychelles offshore trusts are referred to as constructive trusts based on the principle that at least one of the trustees is either a financial institution, or a person who resides in Seychelles or an IBC that is given the authority to act as a trustee, and that the trust property is not situated in Seychelles or that the interests, shares or debentures held in the trust are not owned by an IBC or offshore trust incorporated in Seychelles.

In spite of the foregoing, however, an offshore trust incorporated in Seychelles can own immovable property for use as an office and invest in securities and investments in Seychelles if permitted to do so by the relevant authorities. It is also possible to for a trustee to open a bank account in Seychelles for the purpose of maintaining and operating the offshore trust.

Subject to this section, a trustee or any other person shall not disclose to any person not legally entitles to it or be required to produce or divulge to any court, tribunal, committee of enquiry or other authority in Seychelles or elsewhere, any information or document which discloses the name of the settlor or of any beneficiary; the trustee’s deliberations as to the manner in which a power or a discretion was exercised, or a duty conferred or imposed by the law or by the terms of the international trust was performed; the reason for any particular exercise of such power or discretion or performance of duty or the material upon which such reason will be or might have been based;

The court may make an order for disclosure or production of an information or document relating to an international trust for the purpose of an inquiry or trial into or relating to the trafficking of narcotics and dangerous drugs, arms trafficking or money laundering on application by the Attorney-General on proof to the satisfaction of the court that the information or document is bona fide so required.

Unless an offshore trust contains an express power of revocation, it shall be deemed to be irrevocable by the settlor or the settlor’s legal representative.

Where a person creates an international trust, or makes any transfer or disposition of property to an international trust, neither the trust nor the transfer or disposition shall be invalidated by any foreign rule of forced heirship, or by reason of the fact that the concept of trust is unknown to or not admitted by the law of a jurisdiction other than Seychelles; the settlor shall be deemed to have had capacity to create the trust or to make the transfer or disposition if the settlor had capacity to do so under the laws of Seychelles; the laws of the country or jurisdiction in which the settlor is domiciled or of which the settlor is a nation; or the proper law of the transfer or disposition.

An international trust may be created by an oral declaration, or by an instrument in writing, or a will or codicil; shall not be enforceable unless there is in relation to it a registered declaration of trust.

A Seychelles offshore trust may own and trade in other shares, operate bank accounts or even deal in government securities in the country.