Lighthouse Trust Promotes 2015 Amendments to Nevis Trust Law Addressing Asset Protection and Fraudulent Transfer Concerns

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A committee of top asset protection lawyers, working with Lighthouse Trust staff in Nevis and Switzerland, has drafted the 2015 Amendments to the Nevis International Exempt Trust Ordinance. Key changes address fraudulent transfers, eliminate the Cook Islands three-year rule, and prohibit Mareva injunctions and Anton Piller orders.

The Nevis International Exempt Trust Ordinance, Cap. 7.03 ("NIETO"), has catered to the needs of lawyers and their clients engaged in asset protection planning. After twenty successful years, the Nevis Island government is revisiting the NIETO in hopes of modernizing the legislation.

Telbert Glasgow, Director of Lighthouse Trust in Nevis and a board member of the Bank of Nevis, is spearheading a committee of accomplished trusts, estates, and asset protection lawyers that has reviewed the NIETO and recommended changes. The committee is chaired by Shawn Snyder, a lawyer and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Miami.

The 2015 Amendments address a number of technical corrections. Most significant are changes to § 23 of the NIETO, intended to deal with fraudulent transfers. Modeled after the Cook Islands International Trust Act (“ITA”), § 23 includes a codification of the principle, first arising in the courts of the Isle of Man, that a transfer cannot be fraudulent as against a creditor unless there is a “present debt” at the time of the transfer. See Corlett v. Radcliffe, 14 Moo PCC 121, 15 ER 251 (1859); see also Re the Petition of Christopher Jollian Heginbotham, 2 ITELR 95 (1999) (“present debt” in Corlett v. Radcliffe refers to creditors whose claims exist at the time of the transfer).

The committee identified problems with § 23 that currently defeat its intended purpose. As committee chair Shawn Snyder reported to the Nevis Island Premier, "The NIETO as currently in force does not offer asset protection benefits as originally intended by the legislation. § 23 must be revised as soon as possible to correct these scrivener’s errors." The committee also recommended that § 23 be revised to eliminate a Cook Islands-derived rule giving creditors as long as three years to attack transfers in trust.

In requiring a creditor to post a bond, the 2015 Amendments adopt a sliding scale formula by which the minimum bond is (i) EC $100,000, as recommended by the 2014 Proposal, or (ii) one half of the claim amount, whichever is greater. To further limit creditor remedies, the 2015 Amendments prohibit Mareva injunctions, Anton Piller orders, and similar or complementary interim measures. See: Mareva Compania Naviera S.A. v. International Bulkcarriers S.A., 2 Lloyd's Rep 509 (CA) (9175); Anton Piller v. Manufacturing Processes, Ch. 55 (1976). Finally, a general duress provision applicable to all international trusts requires those with power over an international trust to disregard instructions given under duress.


Lighthouse Trust wishes to thank the members of the committee for devoting many months of their time toward completing the 2015 Amendments, including Mr. Snyder for sharing with us a copy of the committee's proposal and his explanatory letter to the Nevis Island Premier. We also wish to extend our gratitude to Inga Ivsan, Manager at Swiss Private Wealth Advisors, LLC, for her insight on Mareva injunctions and Anton Piller orders. A more complete report on the 2015 Amendments may be found by visiting the News & Commentary page of the Lighthouse Trust website:

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Telbert Glasgow
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