Guernsey trusts
Produced in partnership with Gavin Ferguson of Ogier
Guernsey trusts

The following Private Client guidance note Produced in partnership with Gavin Ferguson of Ogier provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Guernsey trusts
  • Guernsey as a trust jurisdiction
  • Regulation of Guernsey trustees
  • Rule against remoteness of vesting
  • Types of trusts commonly used in Guernsey
  • Guernsey trusts and conflict of laws
  • Reserved powers
  • Forced heirship
  • Uses of trusts
  • Taxation in Guernsey

For general information on Guernsey, see Practice Note: Private Client jurisdictional guide—Guernsey.

Guernsey as a trust jurisdiction

Whilst there are examples of Guernsey’s recognition of the trust concept dating from the eighteenth century, Guernsey’s trust services industry as we know it today was born in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of United Kingdom exchange controls, tax planning and the migration of wealthy residents.

It has continued to develop to meet the needs of ever mobile international clients and also the developing international regulatory environment and is now host to some 190 licensed fiduciaries, ranging from large internationals to independent boutique operations.

Trusts were regularly established in Guernsey prior to the promulgation of the Trusts (Guernsey) Law, 1989 (the 1989 Law) and there were court decisions on these trusts. The 1989 Law recognised the validity of Guernsey and foreign trusts and established principles applicable to them. It has since been superseded by the Trusts (Guernsey) Law, 2007 (the 2007 Law), which is now the main source of trusts legislation.

Pursuant to the 2007 Law, Guernsey law trusts:

  1. can last indefinitely

  2. can be created for non-charitable purposes (as opposed to the more traditional option of being created only for individual beneficiaries or charities)

  3. must apply Guernsey law to questions regarding the validity or variation of a trust. This is helpful in the context