The establishment and operation of Jersey Trusts is governed by The Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984 (the ‘Trusts Law’). The Trusts Law provides that assets settled into Trust constitute a separate fund and do not form any part of the personal property of the trustee. Instead they are held for the benefit of individual beneficiaries, groups or classes ofbeneficiary, specified now or in the future, or for charitable or non-charitable purposes. Importantly the Trusts Law imposes fiduciary duties on the trustee, safeguarding the beneficiaries’ interests. It is the strength of this Trusts Law and the expertise of the Jersey Courts in enforcing and defending these laws that make a Jersey Trust such a robust structure in the planning of wealth management for both individuals and companies.
The Foundations (Jersey) Law 2009 introduced a new entity to the Jersey product list with similar attributes to both a Trust and a Company. The Jersey Foundation is a corporate entity (although doesn’t have shareholders) and is governed by a Council in accordance with its charter and regulations in similar fashion to a Company and its Directors. Like a Trust however it must have a purpose (charitable or non-charitable) and/or be for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries referred to as the Foundations objects. As a distinct legal structure it nonetheless has the benefit of flexibility both in terms of ownership, control and purpose which make it ideally suited to the provision of wealth management, succession planning and charitable undertakings.
Similarly the establishment and administration of Jersey Companies is governed by The Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 which makes them ideal vehicles for anything from simple asset protection companies to complex international trading companies. By ensuring that the control and management is retained in Jersey with the provision of offshore Directors who understand the business purpose and act for the benefit of the company and its shareholders, the Jersey company is considered a resident in Jersey for tax purposes and is liable to tax at zero percent (unless it is a financial services business, undertakes certain utilities business or derives income from Jersey real estate).
The Jersey Companies Registry is responsible for the maintenance of the company’s registered status and all Jersey companies must have a local registered office. A Jersey Company must file an annual return by the end of February each year confirming details of its share capital and for public companies its Directors. Otherwise the Registered Office must retain a share register and keep minutes of directors’ and shareholder meetings. Jersey Companies are required to keep adequate accounting records prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
Whilst we have a natural preference for Jersey law structures we are able to operate and administer Trust, Company and Foundation structures incorporated in a variety of jurisdictions the UK, Ireland, Guernsey andBVI being common examples.