Mauritius Trusts are governed by The Trusts Act 2001. A trust can be formed by either a resident or non-resident of Mauritius. It is an extremely flexible structure in the sense that it can be formed as a discretionary trust, a purpose trust, a charitable trust, an asset protection trust or a protective trust. There is no requirement to have the details of the trust registered with any authority, thus preserving confidentiality.
Establishment of a Trust
A trust may be created by a disposition of property intervivos or by will, or by holding property on trust and shall be of no effect unless created by trust deed. It must state the following:
- The name of the trustee
- The intention of the settlor to create a trust, or the declaration of the trustee that he holds property on trust
- The object of the trust, the beneficiaries or class of beneficiaries, as the case may be
- The property transferred or held on trust
- The duration of the trust
There are no trust registers in Mauritius and as such no requirements to disclose the beneficial owner to the authority. A trustee shall keep as confidential and shall not be required to disclose to any person not legally entitled to it, or be required to produce or divulge to any Court, tribunal, committee of enquiry or other authority in Mauritius or elsewhere, any information or document in his possession or under his control.
A trust shall not be void or voidable, or otherwise invalidated in the event of or by reason of the settlor’s bankruptcy of liquidation of his property or in any action, or proceedings against the settlor at the suit of his creditors.
The Court may declare a trust void, where it is established that the trust was made with the intent to defraud persons who were creditors of the settlor at the time when the trust property was vested in the trustee.
No action shall lie against the trustee of a trust after more than 2 years from the date of the transfer or disposal of the assets to the trust.
A trust may be created for a purpose, notwithstanding the absence of any beneficiary.
A purpose trust shall be valid and enforceable where:
- The purpose, whether charitable or not, for which the trust is created is specific, reasonable and capable of fulfilment and is not immoral, unlawful or contrary to public policy
- The terms of the trust provide for the appointment of an enforcer who is capable of enforcing the trust and for the appointment of a successor to an enforcer
- At least one trustee is a qualified trustee
- The instrument creating the trust provides for the disposition of surplus assets of the trust upon its termination whether by expiry, on a specified date or on the occurrence of a specified event, or for any other cause
A qualified Trustee is licensed by the FSC to provide trusteeship services. Of note, a settlor can be one of the trustees of the trust.
Duration of the Trust
The duration of a trust other than a purpose trust shall not exceed ninety-nine years from the date of its coming into existence, unless it is earlier terminated. However, a purpose trust, whether charitable or not, may be of perpetual duration.
Trusts having the settlor and the beneficiaries as non-resident are exempt from tax if an election is made or, in the case of no election, at an effective tax rate of 3% of their net income after the relevant deductions are effected unless an election is made to be considered as non-resident and as such be exempted from tax.
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