Cyprus has a complicated system of forced heirship in which a portion of a deceased's estate must be effectively passed to surviving family members according to a set system of inheritance. This forced heirship regime means that even if a deceased writes a will leaving a certain portion of their estate as gift to their spouse, their wishes will be deemed invalid if there are natural children who are entitled to a fixed minimum percentage of the estate.
Cyprus offers a number of tax incentives to high-net-worth individuals. For example, foreign nationals who earn €100,000 per annum from employment in Cyprus are eligible for a 50% tax exemption on their income irrespective of the status of their tax residency or domicile. Further, Cyprus is party to more than 65 tax treaties, which allows it to charge zero or minimal withholding tax rates on incomes such as pensions, royalties, dividends and interest received from abroad.
When property interests are given away during life or at death, taxes are imposed on their transfer. Such taxes are known as estate and gift taxes. The simplicity of Cyprus's tax system, especially with regard to estate and gift taxes, is one of the major attractions for the many high-net-worth individuals and companies that choose Cyprus as their place of business or residence.
The Central Bank of Cyprus recently issued a circular which clarifies dubious and vague information regarding shell companies and entities in Cyprus and advises banks and service providers on how to deal with them. As Cyprus remains an attractive jurisdiction for registering offshore entities, the circular's revised definition of 'shell companies' will assist banks when opening accounts for international businesses and corporate service providers.
Typically, a parent's main concern is being able to pay for their children's education and ensuring the best start for them when they grow up and want to purchase property or launch their own business. One way to accomplish these goals is to set up a Cyprus investment trust (CIT), which allows a trustee to manage its assets for the good of the beneficiaries. Setting up a CIT for children is easy and allows parents to tailor a trust to fit their unique circumstances.
The States of Guernsey recently passed the Companies (Guernsey) Law 2008 (Insolvency) (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, making Guernsey an even more desirable forum for insolvency proceedings. The changes show that Guernsey is prepared to arm insolvency office holders with the necessary tools and powers to tackle, draw in and preserve the assets of an insolvent company for the benefit of creditors.
A shift in Guernsey's corporate and individual attitude towards the misuse of data is now central to the Office of the Data Protection Authority's (ODPA's) future approach to governance and enforcement in Guernsey. This article rounds up the key issues which the ODPA has communicated and which will dictate its approach, including changes in workplace culture and the delayed introduction of the self-funded charging system.
Wealth is increasing exponentially among some of the world's richest families to the extent that, for many of these families, it makes commercial sense to set up their own bespoke family office to look after their key operations – and they are increasingly looking to Guernsey as the place to do it. There are a range of factors as to why Guernsey is becoming a jurisdiction of choice in this regard, including political stability and the fact that it has the expertise and personnel to manage family offices well.
This article has been removed at the request of the contributing firm.
It is well known that new investment company listings have been relatively sporadic of late – this is not entirely due to Brexit, but it is clear that Brexit has stalled a number of fundraisings which have gone out to market. Fortunately, once there is some clarity on the way forward, there may be a race to market. Data from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to the end of January 2019 shows that Guernsey is home to more non-UK incorporated companies listed on the LSE than any other jurisdiction globally.
Over the past year, Indian private client law took a number of small steps which were potentially giant leaps for the legal regime. That is to say, although no noteworthy legislation was enacted, a number of amendments and rules were introduced to existing laws which mark a significant shift in the legal position. This article examines three key legal developments which took place in the Indian private client space in 2019 and the main trends expected in 2020.
Indian succession laws are manifold and complex. As such, an estate and succession plan should be devised for a person of Indian origin or with any Indian connection only once the applicable succession rules have been determined. This article discusses specific concepts of succession laws and provides a takeaway toolkit for practitioners faced with an estate with an Indian connection.
The Indian diaspora is one of the largest in the world, with more than 30 million people of Indian origin living outside the country. Many of these people retain some connection with India through their nationality or ownership of assets, especially real estate. Consequently, global estate and succession planning invariably involves elements of Indian succession law. Indian succession rules are complex and multi-layered and may confound offshore practitioners who encounter estates with an Indian connection.
Wealth-related disputes are common – even when family and relationships are valued over material needs. As family businesses and relationship circles get larger and more complex, parties often seek to separate commercial control, ownership and interests and achieve greater independence. This brings to the fore the significance of family settlements, which allow families to achieve these objectives amicably while preserving their values and honouring the wishes of all family members.
Following the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, India has introduced a statutory requirement for the identification and disclosure of significant beneficial owners, whether Indian or foreign, of every company incorporated in India. This is a landmark development which will lead to a significant push towards transparency.
With the slow but inexorable process of tokenisation, whereby real-world assets are moved onto blockchains and represented by tokens, it is only a matter of time before trust practitioners will need to look at blockchain-based trusts or 'smart trusts'. However, the beauty of the modern trust is its flexibility and the beauty of blockchain is its pre-programmability and immutability. Can these two worlds really come together?
Since the introduction of provisions to the Income Tax Code aimed at regulating the taxation of trusts and related beneficiaries, the tax treatment applicable to income distribution from foreign opaque trusts has not been clarified by law. A new decree law has filled this legal void by providing for a new class of 'financial income', represented by income paid to Italian resident beneficiaries by non-EU trusts established in low-tax jurisdictions.