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BELIZE:No. 9 of 2007I assent,
(SIR COLVILLE N. YOUNG) Governor-General
30th May, 2007
AN ACT to amend the Trusts Act, Chapter 202 of the Laws of
Belize, Revised Edition 2000-2003, to provide for compulsory
registration of international trusts; to provide for the
establishment of an International Trusts Registry; and to
provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
(Gazetted 2nd June, 2007).
BE IT ENACTED, by and with the advice and consent of the
House of Representatives and the Senate of Belize and by the
authority of the same, as follows: –
1. This Act may be cited as the
TRUSTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2007 ,
and shall be read and construed as one with the Trusts Act,
which is hereinafter referred to as the principal Act.
2. Part X of the principal Act is hereby amended as follows:
(i) in the caption to that Part, by deleting the words
“and Exempt Trusts ” occurring therein;
(ii) by repealing sections 64 and 65 thereof.
3. The principal Act is hereby amended by the addition of
the following as new Part XA immediately after section 63: –
64.(1)In this Part, unless the context
otherwise requires —
“Commission” means the International Financial
Services Commission established under the
International Financial Services Commission Act;
“dollar” means dollar in the currency of the United
States of America;
“international trust” or “offshore trust” means a
trust where —
(a) the settlor is not resident in Belize;
(b) none of the beneficiaries is resident in
(c) the trust property does not include any
land situated in Belize;
(d) the law of Belize is selected as the
proper law of the trust ; and
(e) in case of a purpose trust, the purpose
or object of the trust is to be pursued
or performed outside of Belize.
“IFS Practitioner” shall have the meaning assigned
to it in section 2 of the International Financial
Services Commission Act;
“Minister” means the Minister for the time being
responsible for international financial services;
“Protector” means the person appointed by the
settlor to intercede between the trustees, settlor and
“Register” means the Register of International
Trusts maintained under section 65A of this Act;
“Registrar” means the Registrar of International
“Trust Agent” means Trust Agent of an
international trust appointed under section 65E of
this Act by the trustee of an International Trust.
(2)In this section, “resident” shall mean
resident for the purposes of the Income and
Business Tax Act.
(3)Where there is a conflict between the
provisions of this Part and any other provision of
this Act, the provisions of this Part shall prevail.
65. (1)Notwithstanding any other provision
of this Act, an international trust may be created
only by an instrument in writing.
(2)Every deed of settlement creating an
international trust shall be signed by the settlor and
the trustees, and every declaration of trust shall be
signed by the trustees, and such signatures, if made
outside Belize, shall be authenticated before a
notary public or other authority authorised by the
law of that jurisdiction to administer oaths.
65A. (1)There shall be established under the
jurisdiction and control of the Commission an
International Trusts Registry (hereinafter referred
to in this Part as “the Registry”).
(2)The Director General of the
Commission shall act as the Registrar of
(3)The Registrar may, with the approval
of the Minister, appoint one or more persons to be
Deputy Registrar(s) of International Trusts.
(4)The Registrar shall maintain a
Register of International Trusts containing the
following information: –
(i) Name of the trust.
(ii) Date of settlement of the trust.
(iii) Date of registration of the trust.
(iv) Name(s) of the trustee(s).
(v) Name of the protector (if any).
(vi) Name and address of the trust agent.
(vii) Any other information as may from
time to time be specified by
(5)Every Trust Agent shall maintain a record of
International Trusts containing the following
(i) Name of the trust.
(ii) Date of settlement of the trust.
(iii) Date of registration of the trust.
(iv) Name(s) of the trustee(s).
(v) Name of settlor.
(vi) Name of protector (if any).
(vii) Names and addresses of all the
(viii) Initial funds settled.
(ix) Additional funds settled.
(x) Changes in beneficiaries.
(xi) Change of protector.
(xii) Original trust instrument and any
(6) The Registrar may from time to time either
personally or through inspectors appointed by him,
inspect and audit the record of International Trusts
maintained by the Trust Agents under subsection
(5) above, to verify the contents of the record and
ensure its compliance with the law.
65B.(1)The settlor or a trustee or the trust
agent of an international trust shall apply to the
Registrar to enter the trust on the Register within
90 days of the date of creation of the trust.
(2) On an application for registration of an
international trust, the Registrar may extend the
period of 90 days on being satisfied that the failure
to register the trust was as a result of inadvertence
on the part of any intended party to the trust.
(3)An application for entry on the
Register shall contain the information required to
be kept on the Register under section 65A(4) and
shall be accompanied by –
(a) an affidavit from the Trust Agent
verifying that all the information
required to be kept by the Trust Agent
under section 65A (5) is duly held and
recorded by him in the appropriate
record in his office; and
(b) such fee as may be prescribed by
Regulations made under this Part. Compulsory
(4)The Registrar shall, on receipt of an
application for registration, an affidavit from the
Trust Agent referred to in section 65B(3)(a)
above, and the required fee –
(a) enter on the Register the name of the
trust, the names of the trustees, the
name of the protector (if any), the
date of the trust settlement or
declaration of trust (as the case may
be), the purpose for which the trust is
established, and any other
information required under section
65A(4) above; and
(b) assign a number and issue to the
trustee and the trust agent (if they are
different persons) a numbered
certificate of registration.
(5) Where the terms of a trust which has
been registered are varied, the trustee or the trust
agent shall send to the Registrar a notification of
such variation together with the prescribed fee and
the Registrar shall amend the entry on the Register
accordingly, assign a number and issue a
numbered amended certificate of registration.
(6)Where a trust which has been
registered terminates, the trustee or the trust agent
shall notify the Registrar and return the certificate
of registration and the Registrar shall then cancel
the entry on the Register and the certificate of
(7)The provisions of section 7 of this Act
(relating to the validity of a trust) shall only apply
to an international trust where such trust is duly
registered in accordance with this Part XA. An
international trust which is not so registered shall
be invalid and unenforceable.
(8)The Registrar shall refuse to register a
trust, if –
(a)the application contains information
which is incomplete, incorrect,
misleading or intended to deceive; or
(b) the application for registration is not
in conformity with this Act or the
(c) he determines that, having regard to
the contemplated activities of the trust
and the persons connected with the
trust as disclosed in the application
for registration, it would not be in the
public interest that the trust should be
registered in Belize.
(9) The Registrar shall cancel the
registration of a trust, if –
(a) he is satisfied that a certificate of
registration issued by him in respect
of the trust has been obtained by or on
account of any fraud or mistake;
(b) he determines that, having regard to
the activities of the trust and the
persons connected with the trust as
disclosed in the application and other
trust documents, it is not in the public
interest that the trust should continue
to be registered in Belize;
(c) the trust ceases to comply with the
provisions of this Act or the
(d) there is any other fit and proper cause.
(10) Any document required or desired to
be filed or registered with the Registrar under any
provision of this Part may be filed or registered in
any language other than the English language,
provided that it is accompanied by a certified
English translation, and every such English
translation shall be treated as the authoritative
(11) It shall be the duty of every Trust
Agent or IFS Practitioner to ensure that every
international trust in respect of which he is the
trust agent or the service provider, is duly
registered under the provisions of this Part.
65C. (1) The Register shall not be open for
public inspection except that the trustee or the
trust agent of a trust may in writing authorise a
person to inspect the entry of that trust on the
(2) The Registrar shall not disclose any
information contained in the Register to any
person without the trustee’s or trust agent’s written
authorisation, except where a written request is
made to him by the Director of Public
Prosecutions, the Director, Financial Intelligence
Unit, the Commissioner of Police or other
regulatory or enforcement authority, certifying that
such information is reasonably required to
facilitate a criminal investigation, prosecution or
proceeding, whether in Belize or elsewhere,
including an investigation into locating the
proceeds of crime and any proceedings for the
enforcement of a confiscation or forfeiture order
made in Belize or elsewhere.
(3)The Registrar may by notice in
writing to the trustee or the trust agent or the
protector (if any), require the trustee or the trust
agent or the protector (if any), to provide to the
Registrar, at a time as may be specified, any
information or documentation which the Registrar
may reasonably require for ensuring that the trust
complies with the provisions of this Act or for any
other fit and proper cause.
(4)Any power conferred by virtue of
subsection (3) to require a trustee or the trust agent
or the protector (if any), to produce any document
or information shall include a power to take copies
thereof or extracts therefrom.
(5)Where a trustee or the trust agent or
the protector (if any), fails to supply the
information or to produce any document when
required to do so by the Registrar, the Registrar
may, in accordance with subsection (8) of section
65B above, cancel the registration of the trust.
65D.(1)Where an international trust is duly
registered and continues to be so registered under
the provisions of this Part, then, notwithstanding
any provision to the contrary in any enactment –
(a) the trust shall be exempt from the
provisions of the Income and
Business Tax Act;
(b) no estate, inheritance, succession or
gift tax or duty shall be payable with
respect to the trust property by reason
of any death of any person; and
(c) all instruments relating to the trust
property or to transactions carried out
by the trustee on behalf of the trust
shall be exempt from stamp duty.
(2) The trustees of a registered
international trust shall be regarded as not resident
in Belize for the purpose of the Exchange Control
Regulations 1976 with regard to the trust property
and to all transactions carried out by the trustee on
behalf of the trust. Exemption
65E.(1)An international trust shall at all times
have a trust agent resident in Belize who shall be
appointed by the trustee of the trust.
(2)The trust agent shall accept service of
all legal process on behalf of the trustee(s) and
protector (if any), and shall be responsible for
ensuring that the trust at all times complies with
the provisions of this Act as to registration or the
(3)No person shall act or hold himself
out as a trust agent unless he is the holder of a
valid licence to engage in trust business issued by
the Commission, and every person who
contravenes this provision commits an offence and
shall be liable to the penalties prescribed under the
International Financial Services Commission Act.
(4)Every trust agent or IFS Practitioner
who contravenes the provisions of this Act shall,
without prejudice to the IFS Practitioners (Code of
Conduct) Regulations, be guilty of an offence and
shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty
of $500.00 for each day or part thereof during
which the contravention continues. Trust
65F.(1)The Registrar shall maintain a
Register of Trust Agents containing the following
(a) Name of the trust agent;
(b) Address of the trust agent;
(c) Names of the individuals authorised
to sign on behalf of any firm or
corporation that is a trust agent;
(d) Where a trust agent ceases to be a
trust agent, the date on which the trust
agent ceased to be a trust agent; and
(e) The names of those trusts registered
in Belize for which the trust agent acts
as such agent.
(2) The Registrar shall, during the month
of January in each year, publish in the Gazette a
list of trust agents as appeared on the Register of
Trust Agents on 31
st December in the preceding
(3)Any change in the details kept by the
Registrar in the Register of Trust Agents pursuant
to subsection (1) shall be notified immediately by
the trust agent or the trustee to the Registrar, and,
upon payment of such fee as may be prescribed by
Regulations, the Registrar shall record the change
in the Register of Trust Agents.
65G. (1)Where the trust agent of a trust desires
to cease to act as trust agent and the trust agent is
unable to reach an agreement with the trustees of
the trust for which he is the trust agent concerning
his replacement, the following provisions shall
(a)the trust agent shall give not less than
90 days written notice to any trustee
or protector of the trust of which he is
the trust agent at the trustee’s or
protector’s last known address, or if
the trust agent is not aware of the
identity of any trustee or protector
then the person from whom the trust
agent last received instructions
concerning the trust, specifying the
wish of the trust agent to resign as
trust agent and shall together with the
notice provide a list of all trust agents
in Belize with their names and
change of trust
agent and its
(b)the trust agent shall submit to the
Registrar a copy of the notice referred
to in paragraph (a);
(c) if, at the time of expiry of the notice,
the trustees of the trust have not taken
a decision to change the trust agent,
the trust agent shall inform the
Registrar in writing that the trustees
have not changed the trust agent
whereupon the Registrar shall publish
a notice in the Gazette that the name
of the trust will be struck off the
Register, unless the trustees, within 30
days from the date of the publication
of the notice in the Gazette, register
with the Registrar a copy of a
resolution or other Memorandum
changing its trust agent; and
(d) if the trustees fail within 30 days from
the date of the publication of the
notice referred to in paragraph (c) to
register with the Registrar a copy of a
resolution or other written
memorandum evidencing the
appointment of a new trust agent, the
Registrar shall strike the name of the
trust off the Register and shall publish
in the Gazette a notice that the name
of the trust has been struck off the
(2) The trustees of the trust that has been
struck off the Register under this Part remain liable
for all claims, debts, liabilities and obligations of
the trust, and the striking-off shall not affect the
liability of any person to whom the trustees have
lawfully delegated their functions.
(3) Notwithstanding the foregoing
provisions of this section, the trustees may apply to
the Court for restoration of the trust to the
65 H. (1)The Commission may, with the
approval of the Minister from time to time,
make regulations for the better carrying out of the
provisions of this Part.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of
subsection (1) above, such regulations may
provide for all or any of the following matters: –
(a)fees to be charged for the registration
or restoration of international trusts
or for any other matter relating to
(b) application form for registration of
(c) details to be entered on the Register
of Trusts or the Register of Trust
(d) duties to be performed by the
Registrar, Deputy Registrars or the
(e) information on the trust to be kept by
the Trust Agents;
(f) place or places where the International
Trusts Registry shall be located.
(3) All regulations made by the
Commission under this section shall, as soon as
may be after the making thereof, be placed before
the National Assembly and shall be subject to
65 I.(1)All registration fees, and other fees
and penalties paid under this Part or any
regulations made thereunder shall be credited into
the General Fund of the Commission established
under section 18 of the International Financial
Services Commission Act.
(2)The Registrar may refuse to take any
action required of him under this Act or the
Regulations for which a fee is prescribed until
such fee has been duly paid.
65 J. Any trust which is an exempt trust at the
date of commencement of this Act shall apply to
the Registrar for registration under the provisions
of this Part and obtain such registration within
twelve months of such commencement, failing
which it shall cease to be a valid and enforceable
trust under the laws of Belize and no trust agent or
IFS Practitioner shall service or otherwise deal
with such trust in any manner whatsoever.”
4. This Act shall come into force on a day to be appointed
by the Minister responsible for international financial services
by Order published in the Gazette.