For a number of years, the international financial services sector has contributed the greatest amount to the Bermuda economy. According to the National Economic Report published by the Ministry of Finance, international business provided $1.68 billion in total output or 27.3 per cent of total GDP in 2016. It is critical for Bermuda’s economic well-being then, that the Island remains in step with international standards set by supra-national regulatory authorities to protect the jurisdiction’s financial system from abuse.
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I am sometimes instructed by a married couple that they want to create “mutual wills”. Generally I shudder at the thought and suggest that really what they might be after are “mirror-image” or reciprocal wills and then I proceed to explain the difference. I have only had one set of clients execute mutual wills after the proffered explanation, so I am led to the conclusion that there is widespread misunderstanding of the term. While there may be occasions for using a mutual will, in my professional opinion, they will be few and far between.
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With a surprising degree of frequency I meet with clients to initiate the probate process many years after the death of a loved one. Often the catalyst is an attempt to sell a piece of real estate, at which time they learn that they have no authority to sell because dad’s estate or grandma’s estate was never probated. As many Bermudian families try hard to keep properties within the family, and as many families have a number of pieces of real estate, it can be years before this discovery is made. Then, the whole sale process comes to a grinding halt.
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The Digital Asset Business Act 2018 (the “DAB Act”) became operative on 10th September 2018, creating a legislative framework for digital asset business and services to operate within a regulated environment in or from within Bermuda.
Digital assets are defined as anything that exists in binary format and comes with the right to use it and includes a digital representation of value that:
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There have been some important changes in the Supreme Court of Bermuda in the months of June and July of this year. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley stepped down in mid-July and was given much praise for his contributions to jurisprudent in Bermuda at a Special Sitting of the Bermuda Bar on 13 July. Mr Justice Kawaley was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2003 and was a founding member of Bermuda’s Commercial Court. He was appointed Chief Justice in 2012. Just before his departure as Chief Justice, Mr Kawaley, also issued the second edition of his book Offshore Commercial Law in Bermuda published by Wildy Simmonds & Hill.
Kawaley’s successor, now Chief Justice, Narinder Hargun was sworn in on 16 July 2018. Mr Hargun has over 35 years of professional legal experience, appearing as Counsel in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council as well as serving as an Assistant Justice of the Supreme Court since 2011.
In addition, at the beginning of July, former Registrar Shade Subair-Williams, was appointed as Puisne Judge in the Supreme Court. Justice Subair-Williams held the position of Registrar for two years during which she often sat as an acting Puisne Judge.