Trusts Law

Trusts Law

The aim of Malta’s trusts and estate law is to allow for the beneficial, yet secure, protection of a person’s wealth and property. Trusts serve as flexible and efficient vehicle for the protection and management of assets in Malta and Cyprus. Maltese trusts law provides for different types of trusts to suit the needs and wishes of various settlors. 

Trusts law: setting up and use of trusts

  • Setting up of Malta and Cyprus Trusts

The Malta Trusts and Trustees Act, the main legislative framework regulating trusts law, regulates the setting up of trusts in Malta. In order to ensure the highest level of security, Malta's trusts law provides for strict legislation and regulations relating to the authorization and supervision of trustees. The act also incorporates the Hague Convention on the Law applicable to Trusts and on their Recognition which has been ratified by Malta and Cyprus.

  • Use of Trusts as per Maltese Trusts Law

Maltese Trusts Law recognises three main types of trusts which are express (may be either public of private), implied or resulting and constructive. At Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates we offer comprehensive advice on how to use these types of trusts. As per Maltese trust law, trusts can be:

  • Express trusts, whereby the settlor's intention to set up the trust is clearly and openly expressed. He has wide discretion and clearly delineates in the trust deed who of the beneficiaries should benefit and to what extent. This trust is usually set up in writing.
  • Implied or resulting trusts, which are trusts that arise from the intention of the settlor, which intention is presumed from his words or actions.
  • Constructive trusts, which arise by operation of law and are in no way dependent on the intention of the settlor. They are imposed by operation of law in situations where not to do so would imply one party's unjust enrichment. 

Our Trust Company

Claris Trustees, Chetcuti Cauchi’s trust company, is an authorised trustee approved by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), and stands as one of the most prominent Maltese trust and fiduciary companies. The directors and officials of the company have all been duly vetted by the MFSA and confirmed as fit and proper to provide such services.

Cyprus Trusts Law: The Cyprus International Trust 

Setting up a Cyprus International Trust can also be an efficient way for family businesses to reduce tax liabilities, protect the family’s assets from creditors and cater for succession planning. A Cyprus International Trust allows for the setting up of a trust in Cyprus where both the beneficiaries and the settlors are not Cypriot residents, on the condition that at least one of the trustees is a Cyprus tax resident. 

Cyprus Trusts are regulated by the Trustees Law, Chapter 193 of the laws of Cyprus, which is the main legal framework for Cypriot trusts. It is good to note that this law is largely based on English trust law.

Our Trusts Law Practice Group

Our aim as trustees is to exercise utmost good care in the administration of the property settled under trust for the ultimate benefit of the trusts' beneficiaries, typically future generations. We pride ourselves in our distinguished management team which includes a number of specialised lawyers, accountants, financial advisors and trust administrators. They bring to the table a combination of strategic skills and experience which is required for the running of a high calibre trust, and also puts us at the forefront in the field.

As trustees we aim to strike a balance in order to respect the client’s wishes in settling the trust property and to make sure that all the necessary due diligence procedures and legal compliance are maintained throughout the duration of the trust. We have extensive experience in drafting trust instruments that reflect the client’s needs and ensure that any implications of settling a property in trust is communicated to our clients. This includes any tax or accounting requirements that may arise and in which our qualified accountants and tax advisors have long-standing experience.

Our Trusts Lawyers

Some members of our Malta trusts and estates law team take on a very active role in their field of expertise. Our team is heavily involved in the executive council of STEP Malta branch, with two of the firm’s partners acting as branch secretary and member of the Technical Committee. Our team is also involved in the IFSP Council, Malta Institute of Taxation, Malta Institute of Accountants, Finance Malta and the Chamber of Advocates. In the international tax and corporate services sector, we are members of the International Tax Planning Association, the International Fiscal Association and the European Family Business Network.

We have extensive years of experience in trust and estate field in both Malta and Cyprus, particularly in tax planning and in the setting up and management of trusts as well as the recognition in Malta of foreign trusts under the Hague Convention. We also act as nominee shareholder to hold shares in companies incorporated by us if we are satisfied that the underlying reasons are legitimate, and we also provide escrow agency services in local or international private or commercial transactions.

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Key Contacts

Mr Steve Muscat Azzopardi

Senior Manager, Tax, Corporate Services

+356 2205 6328

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