ST KITTS

2. Sources Of Law

A. Trust Creation And Administration

Prior to 1996, all trusts, both domestic and international, were subject to the Trustee Ordinance of 1961, which was repealed by the Trusts Act of 1996 (TA).

B. Property, Estate And Probate

Real property is vested in the owner either by deed in accordance with the Conveyancing andLaw of Property Act or by Certificate of Title in accordance with the Title by Registration Act (TRA). Property held by Certificate of Title gives the registered proprietors an indefeasible right to the property described on the face of the Certificate. The title registration regime includes an assurance fund that supports the indefeasible claim of the registered proprietor. There is no such assurance for property held by deed. However, a proprietor may choose to bring his property held by deed under the title by the TRA and be issued an indefeasible Certificate of Title.

Where property is owned by more than one proprietor, the joint ownership can be either in the form of joint tenancy or tenancy in common. The major distinction in the ownership relates to succession. With property held in common, the individual share of the property owned by the co-owner becomes part of the deceased's estate, with joint tenancy on the death of one of the co-owners none of the co-owned property becomes part of his estate instead all of the property is vested in the surviving owner.

There are no estate, inheritance or succession taxes levied on the estate of a deceased person. The Wills Act (Cap. 84), as Amended governs the formal and essential validity of a will disposing of immovable property in Saint Kitts-Nevis, or movable property of a testator domiciled at death in the Federation. The Intestates Estate Act (Cap. 36), as Amended governs the administration and distribution of estates of persons dying intestate.

There is no forced heirship in Saint Kitts-Nevis, and in the case of trusts established in either Saint Kitts or Nevis, any forced heirship rules in the settlor's or beneficiary's country of domicile are disregarded.

C. Company Law

Limited liability companies can be limited by shares or by guarantee. A company limited by guarantee must state the amount of the guarantee that each member is required to contribute to cover the debts and liabilities of the company in the case of its being wound up.

Companies may be private or public, ordinary or exempt. Private exempt companies that conduct their business exclusively with persons who are not resident in the Federation may be exempt from all taxes if registered as an exempt company with the Registrar of Companies.


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© 2012 Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners