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In Belize We Trust, And Now Register

Mar 1, 2008
Almost everyone knows that Belize is situated on the Caribbean coast, bordering with Mexico and Guatemala, well almost everyone living in Belize, that is.

To the backpacker, Belize is synonymous with busses, and mosquitoes, and to the environmentalist, a safe haven for the manatees. To the singer Madonna, it's La Isla Bonita. The avid diver identifies the Blue Hole. Belize cannot be found in the Tui vacation catalogue so to the average holiday maker it signifies absolutely nothing, and yet cruise ships fill the Belize City harbor daily, Europeans flock to the Belize Keys and the American Airlines jet graces the International airport twice daily.

The offshore services community is well aware of its location and its benefits. There are however a number of skeptics who believe that Belize is not a prime offshore destination. However, it could cost more. The current $100 annual IBC registration fee is very inexpensive. The astoundingly quick registration, could also take longer. Belize is located in the US time zones and couldn't be more convenient for US business. Its legal system is based on English common law, the country is politically stable and the official language is English -all positive and strong selling points.

The May, 2007 Trusts Amendment Act was responsible for three significant changes to Belize Trusts. First, all trusts are now called Belize International Trusts. Second, all trusts now have to be Registered - No more voluntary registration. And third, all trusts have to have a Trust Agent - this must be a licensed LOCAL company.

The registration process is very efficient and the information that needs to be submitted to the registrar is limited to: Name of the Trust, Date of Settlement of Trust, Name of the Trustee, Name of the Trust Agent, Name of the Protector. The beneficiaries, settler and assets are undisclosed. Confidential documentation is held by the licensed Trust Agent (who can also be the Trustee). Zetland is a licensed Trust Agent and Trustee in Belize.

The application of the Amendment is retrospective and so any trusts settled before 15 June 2007 (date of the amendment) must be registered before June 15, 2008. All trusts settled after June 15, 2007 must be registered within 90 days of the establishment.

A mandatory Registration Certificate raises many eyebrows, but perhaps Belize is shaping the trend of things to come, offering more tangibility to a solution not always understood by clients.

Whatever your outlook may be, Belize offers modern legislation for offshore solutions. A registered Belize International Trust may be an interesting new product for many asset protection clients.
About the Author
The Zetland Financial Group provides the offshore investor with fiduciary Services, investment management and corporate advisory services , offering personal service and professional advice with total confidentiality.
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