ST KITTS

3. Trusts

A. Introduction

Trust law in the Federation is based on the general principles of English trust law, as amended and codified by the TA.

B. Most Frequently Used Trusts

Trusts that are created under the TA may be: charitable trusts; unit trusts; common trusts; and spendthrift protective trusts. Federation trusts may be used to benefit persons or purposes.

C. Proper Law Of A Trust

A trust shall be governed by the law of the jurisdiction that is expressed or may be implied from the terms of the trust, or that with which it has its closest connection. A deed may provide that a severable aspect of the trust will be governed by the law of a different jurisdiction.

D. Creation Of A Trust

I. Validly Constituted Trusts

The TA codifies the common-law requirement that a trust must comply with three certainties; namely intention, subject-matter and objects. A trust will be invalid if it is immoral, contrary to public policy or the laws of the Federation, was established by duress, fraud or undue influence.

Ii. Duration And Termination Of A Trust

A trust may continue for 100 years from the date that it came into existence, if not terminated sooner.

Iii. Beneficiaries

A beneficiary must be identifiable by name or ascertainable by reference to a person or class of persons. A settlor or trustee may be members of the beneficial class. The terms of a trust may provide for the addition or exclusion of persons from the beneficial class. The terms of a trust may impose an obligation upon a beneficiary as a condition to benefit.

Iv. Trustees

The number of trustees shall not be less than two, unless only one trustee was originally appointed or the sole trustee is a corporate trustee.

V. Protectors

A protector may be appointed over a trust created under the TA with the power to direct a trustee over matters specified in the deed. A protector must a lawyer, auditor, member of a professional body, body corporate or a partnership. In the exercise of the office, a protector shall act honestly and in good faith with a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries or purpose.

Vi. Role Of Courts

The High Court of the Federation of Saint Kitts-Nevis (High Court) has jurisdiction over a trust if Federation law is the proper law of the trust, a trustee or trust assets are located in the Federation or if administration is conducted in Saint Kitts-Nevis. Any foreign judgments that are obtained against a trustee, settlor, trust, protector, beneficiary, trust assets or a person appointed pursuant to the trust will not be recognised by the High Court if the judgment relates to a matter that is governed by Federation law.

E. Confidentiality And Disclosure

All trusts must be registered with the Registrar and kept in a non-public registry. An attestation shall be delivered to the Registrar that states the names of the trust and trustee, and if such trust is a charitable trust or unit trust. Any documents maintained by the Registry may only be inspected upon written permission of the trustee or by an Inspector appointed by the Minister of Finance pursuant to a court order. All trustees shall keep confidential all information regarding the trust assets or the conduct of trust administration.


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© 2012 Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners