With roots that can be chased back to the 13th century, when Franciscan monks sought ways to circumvent rules that forbade them from owning property, the modern-day trust is a highly flexible vehicle offering a wide range of potential benefits and a large number of uses. The basic concept of a trust structure is that assets are transferred by the settler to a trustee who has a duty to manage them for the benefit of defined beneficiaries.

The trust has remained very much the same since its early inception. However there is now a series of regulations, which manage the relationships between the various parties of the trust. Whilst all trusts share similar core principles, there are certain distinctions between the three key types of trust – Discretionary, Fixed Interest and Accumulation and Maintenance.

Guernsey trustees, whether individual or corporate, are licensed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and operate within a tight regulatory environment. The jurisdiction’s reputation means clients can be confident in the level of service they can expect.

Given its historical provenance, the trust is a concept much more familiar to common-law than to civil law jurisdictions. Residents of civil law jurisdictions are therefore often more comfortable with the Foundation concept.