Therefore, a trust can be defined as an equitable obligation that involves the trustee who holds the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiary according to the terms of the trust.
The flexibility and protection granted by the dispositions of the trust have become an important part of the administration of wealth in the long term.
Through the use of trusts, it is usually possible for family assets held in future generations to be exempt from taxes, testament legalization requirements, succession laws, expropriation and exchange controls. There are no requirements to register in Mauritius trusts, thus maintaining confidentiality.
A corporate structure allows its shareholders that have carried out business, their own patrimony and limits responsibility. The ability to administer the assets through a combination of trusts and corporations is more valuable and the current legislation in Mauritius offers an effective framework to carry out international activities relating to trusts and the services offered in this respect.
Mauritius trusts are governed by the Trusts Law of 2001. A trust can only be set up by a written instrument that should express the purpose, subject, intentions, duties and faculties of the trustees. The trust can be set up by a Mauritius resident or non-resident. Trust registers do not exist in Mauritius nor any disclosure of the beneficiary to authorities.
The trusts set up by written documents are usually of two types:
- Settlement: this type of document will be entered and signed by the settlor and trustee thus providing clear evidence of the intentions of both parties and the obligations accepted by the trustee.
- Declaration of trust: this type of document will be entered and executed by the trustee only and the records of the property received are specified in the document according to the terms established in the document.
- Usually it is more convenient to set up a trust through a declaration of trust rather than by a settlement, for example, the settlor could not be available to sign the document when it is prepared.
Types of trusts
Most offshore trusts are divided into four categories:
- Private: discretionary, accumulation, maintenance, life interest and fixed interest trusts.
- Corporate: pension, employee benefit trusts.
- Charitable:only for the benefit of charitable trusts.
- Purpose: trusts with no beneficiaries that are established for purposes that are reasonable and certain.
Main characteristics of Mauritius trusts
- The confidentiality of the trustee`s deliberations, the identity of the settlor and the beneficiaries.
- The possibility of establishing letters of wishes.
- The fight against forced heirship regulations.
- The change of location of possible trusts.
- The concept of administration and custodian trustee.
- The charitable trusts are exempt from tax.
The proper law of the trust is chosen by the settlor or the one implied in the Trust Deed. If no law is chosen, the one which is most closely connected at the time the trust was set up will be treated as proper law.