Setting up a Trust in
Mauritius Trusts are governed by The Trusts Act 2001. A trust formed under this Act has the following features:
It can be formed by a resident or non-resident of the Mauritius.
There is no requirement to register the trust with any registrar.
It is a very flexible vehicle and can be formed as a life interest trust, a discretionary trust, a purpose trust, a charitable trust, a protective trust or an asset protection trust.
It can have a Protector and a purpose trust must have an Enforcer.
It can have a managing trustee in Mauritius and a custodian trustee in another jurisdiction.
The forced heirship rules of other states will not be enforced by Courts in Mauritius.
Trust Registration in Mauritius
A trust is established by the disposition of property either between living persons or by the terms of a will or by the declaration of the Trustee that he is holding the property on trust. To be valid it must be evidenced by a deed which states:
The name of the trustee
The intention of the settlor to create a trust or a declaration by the trustee that he holds the property on trust
The object of the trust or the beneficiaries of the trust
The property transferred or held on trust
The duration of the trust
Except with the approval of the Prime Minister, Trust property may not include immovable property in Mauritius in the case where the beneficial interest is held by a non-citizen.
There is no register of trusts in Mauritius nor is there any need for any disclosure of beneficial owner to any authority. A trustee has a requirement under the Act to keep confidential all information concerning the trust. Under exceptional circumstances, a trustee may be required to give confidential information to authorised body or authorised persons under anti-money laundering, prevention of terrorism or prevention of corruption legislation or under the Financial Services Act 2007.
Trust Registration in Mauritius
Asset Protection Features
The legislation includes the following features:
In the absence of intent to defraud, a trust shall not be void or voidable as a consequence of a subsequent bankruptcy of the settlor nor in consequence of any action taken against the settlor by his creditors;
Where the creditor has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the trust was made with the intent to defraud creditors of the settlor, the court may declare a trust to be void or voidable;
No action may be brought in 2 above more than two years from the transfer of assets into the trust.
A Mauritius trust may be created for a purpose, notwithstanding the absence of any beneficiary. The purpose must be specific, reasonable and capable of fulfilment and not immoral, unlawful or contrary to public policy. A purpose trust must have an enforcer who is capable of enforcing the terms of the trust. The instrument creating the trust must provide for the disposition of the assets upon its termination.
Trust Registration in Mauritius
Trusts with non-resident settlors and beneficiaries are exempt from tax if election is made or, if no election is made, at an effective rate of 3% of their net income after deductions for expenses unless an election is made to be deemed non-resident and be exempt from tax. Taxpaying trusts enjoy the benefits of Mauritius’s many favourable tax treaties. Trusts for residents are taxable at 15% on their net income after deductions for expenses.
Migration of Trusts
Trusts established in other jurisdictions can be migrated to Mauritius for tax purposes simply by ensuring that the majority of trustees are resident in Mauritius and that the trust is administered in Mauritius. Depending on the terms of the original trust the proper law of the trust can be changed to that of Mauritius by a simple declaration by the trustees in the deed of retirement and appointment.
A Mauritius Trust is required to have a Qualified Trustee resident in Mauritius duly regulated by the Mauritius Financial Services Commission (FSC). Our team is made up of experienced and dynamic members, most of which are qualified in the field of Economics, Accountancy, Law and International Taxation and are members of Professional Bodies such as the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
The number of trustees may not exceed four.
We offer our services to high net worth individuals, private companies, multinationals and listed entities across the globe. We provide you with tailor-made and flexible solutions to suit your requirements, including tax minimization, reduction of global operating cost, and assets protection.
We take pride in our reputation of providing punctual and cost effective services with highest ethical standards. Client confidentiality, discretion and protection of your assets are our priority.
Any person who has the legal capacity to contract may create a trust. A settlor may be a trustee, beneficiary, protector or enforcer of the trust but may not be the sole beneficiary.
The beneficiaries of a trust must be identifiable by name or ascertainable by reference to a class of persons or by relationship to another person. The terms of the trust may provide for the addition of other beneficiaries.
Duration of a Trust
The trust period cannot exceed more than 99 years except in the case of a charitable trust where it may be of perpetual duration. In the case of a non-charitable purpose, the duration may not exceed 25 years.
Mauritius Charitable Trusts
A specific form of purpose trust is the charitable trust. To be a charitable trust the trust must have as its exclusive object one or more of the following purposes:
The relief of poverty
The advancement of education
The advancement of religion
The protection of the environment
The advancement of human rights and fundamental freedoms
Any other purpose beneficial to the public in general
Provided the trust objects are one of the above it will still be charitable if:
It is a discretionary trust
The terms may be modified or terminated
The trustees have the power to defer the distribution of benefits
The charitable objects are outside Mauritius
Forced Heirship Provisions
The Mauritian Civil Code has been altered to ensure that the forced heirship provisions only relate to trusts settled by Mauritius subjects or relating to property situated in Mauritius and subject to Mauritius national laws.