BVI Wills for non-BVI domiciled persons
BVI Wills for non-BVI domiciled persons

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

  • BVI Wills for non-BVI domiciled persons
  • Introduction
  • Formality
  • Executor
  • Construction
  • Revocation
  • Conclusion

This Practice Note is produced in partnership with Marcus Leese of Ogier Guernsey and Wisdom Hon of Ogier Hong Kong.

Introduction

For individuals who are not domiciled in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), but who personally own assets situated in the BVI, they may have a separate Will governed by BVI law to dispose of such assets and to facilitate the later probate process. Under BVI law, the applicable law for both the formal validity and essential or material validity of a Will of a foreign domiciled person depends on the nature of the assets. For immovable property situated in the BVI, the applicable law is the lex situs, meaning that of the BVI. For movable property, such as cash in bank, shares in BVI companies or interest in a BVI partnership, the applicable law is the law of the deceased’s last domicile. The situs of BVI company shares is determined by section 245 of the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004, which provides that:

‘For the purpose of determining matters relating to title and jurisdiction but not for purposes of taxation the situs of the ownership of the shares, debt obligations and other securities of a company is in the Virgin Islands.’

For BVI company shares held jointly, it is important to identify whether the shares are held as joint tenant or