BVI trusts—types of trusts and practical application
Produced in partnership with Mourant Ozannes
BVI trusts—types of trusts and practical application

The following Private Client guidance note Produced in partnership with Mourant Ozannes provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • BVI trusts—types of trusts and practical application
  • Types of trusts
  • Other types of trust
  • Practical applications for BVI trusts

This Practice Note provides guidance on British Virgin Islands (BVI) trusts.

For general information about the BVI, see Practice Note: Private Client jurisdictional guide—British Virgin Islands.

BVI trusts law is contained primarily in the Trustee Ordinance (Cap 303, Law of BVI) (as amended) (TO) 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).

Types of trusts

The most common types of trust established in the BVI are:

  1. discretionary trusts

  2. VISTA trusts

  3. life interest trusts

  4. fixed interest trusts

Discretionary trusts

A discretionary trust generally provides maximum flexibility and is the most widely used and, often, the most effective solution for both settlor and beneficiaries. The trustee is given wide discretionary powers as to when, to what extent and to which beneficiaries the income and capital of the trust should be distributed.

Such a trust is useful where, at the time of creation of the trust, the future needs of beneficiaries cannot accurately be determined and are likely to change over time. The beneficiaries are not regarded as having any direct legal rights over any particular portion of the trust fund but only a right to be considered when the trustee exercises