Trusts

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 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 may 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.

  1. Establishment of a Trust
    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:

    • An annual financial summary within 6 months of the Balance Sheet date ;

    • Details of the Beneficial and Ultimate Beneficial Owner(s);

    • Detailed Business Plan of the Company; and

    • Register of Directors and Members.

    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.

  2. Confidentiality
    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.

  3. 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.

  4. Purpose Trusts
    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.

  5. Private Trust Company
    A Private Trust Company (PTC) is a company formed to act as trustee to a limited number of trusts, either for the benefit of a single family, or for distinct (but related) family groups. The PTC takes on the trusteeship of the various family trusts and act as the registered owner of their assets. The administration of the PTC is delegated to a Licensed Trust Company like MITCO with the Directors of the PTC that are entitled to carry out their duties on behalf of the company. The Board of Directors may include the Settlor’s own family, his close advisers, MITCO representatives or others. A PTC can therefore provide an elegant solution for a family situation where a greater degree of control over Trust assets is required. Hence, a PTC provides flexibility in investment decision making process and allows members of succeeding generations to sit on the Board and take part in running the family business.

  6. Family Offices
    A Private Trust Company (PTC) is a company formed to act as trustee to a limited number of trusts, either for the benefit of a single family, or for distinct (but related) family groups. The PTC takes on the trusteeship of the various family trusts and act as the registered owner of their assets. The administration of the PTC is delegated to a Licensed Trust Company like MITCO with the Directors of the PTC that are entitled to carry out their duties on behalf of the company. The Board of Directors may include the Settlor’s own family, his close advisers, MITCO representatives or others. A PTC can therefore provide an elegant solution for a family situation where a greater degree of control over Trust assets is required. Hence, a PTC provides flexibility in investment decision making process and allows members of succeeding generations to sit on the Board and take part in running the family business.

  7. Taxation
    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. Tax paying 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Trustee
    At least one trustee of a Mauritius Trust must be a qualified Trustee. A qualified Trustee is one licensed by the FSC to carry out trust business. Subject to the foregoing a settlor may be one of the trustees. The number of trustees may not exceed four.

  10. Duration of the Trust
    At least one trustee of a Mauritius Trust must be a qualified Trustee. A qualified Trustee is one licensed by the FSC to carry out trust business. Subject to the foregoing a settlor may be one of the trustees. The number of trustees may not exceed four.

  11. 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 terminate

    • The advancement of religion

    • The trustees have the power to defer the distribution of benefits

    • The charitable objects are outside Mauritius

  12. 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.