BVI trusts—key features of BVI trusts law
BVI trusts—key features of BVI trusts law

The following Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • BVI trusts—key features of BVI trusts law
  • Trusts law
  • Registration
  • Reserved powers
  • VISTA trusts
  • Purpose trusts
  • Perpetuities
  • Rights to information
  • Variation of trusts
  • Exclusion of forced heirship provisions
  • more

This Practice Note provides guidance on British Virgin Islands (BVI) trusts. For general information about the BVI, see: Private Client jurisdictional guide—British Virgin Islands.

Trusts law

The trusts law of the BVI is contained in the Trustee Ordinance (Cap 303, Laws of British Virgin Islands) (TO) (as amended) and the Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act 2003 (as amended) (VISTA Law) (the legislation is available in the further reading links to Spitz & Clarke Offshore Service in the related documents pod and on the BVI FSC—Banking and Fiduciary Services Legislation web page). The trusts law of the BVI is also based on the English law principles of equity and jurisprudence but there are significant statutory differences. English common law is of merely persuasive authority and BVI trusts law has been modified and abrogated in many respects.

The features of the trusts law of interest to settlors are discussed below.


There is no requirement to register a trust or any trust documents with any formal register.

Providers of trustee services resident in the BVI are registered and regulated pursuant to the Banks and Trust Companies Act, 1990 (BTCA) and are required to keep proper records and accounts and provide the same to beneficiaries or any enforcer of a trust. A recent amendment to TO has made it a criminal offence for a