Topic Archives: Wills, Trusts & Estates

In the Matter of the C Trust [2016] SC [Bda] 53 Civ was the first Bermuda case to extend the perpetuity period under the new Section 4 of the Bermuda Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”). The amendment to Section 4 took effect in December 2015. Although prior to the amendment, the 2009 Act had already abolished the rule against perpetuities with respect to instruments taking effect on or after 1 August 2009, the rule continued to apply to trusts established under Bermuda law prior to 1 August 2009 as well as to trusts originally established in other jurisdictions (with an applicable perpetuity period or similar limitation) but now governed by Bermuda law.

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Our property is ours to give. This belief forms the foundation of the common law principle of testamentary freedom – that by the terms of your last will & testament, you may leave whatever you choose to whomever you choose. In Bermuda, the Wills Act 1988 enshrines this principle at clause 5(1): “…every person may dispose, by will executed in accordance with this Act, of all real estate and all personal estate owned by him at the time of his death.”. Nevertheless, this freedom was never seen as entirely divorced from the context of family obligation, as was eloquently expressed by Chief Justice Cockburn in his judgment in the case of Banks v Goodfellow (1870) 5 LR QB 549, 563-565:
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MJM has acquired several ancient deeds and local legal instruments dating back to the early days of the settlement of Bermuda. Andrew Martin examines the legal context of these documents and their relevance in the development of legal principle, and puts them in their social and historical context.

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While most people prefer to leave nothing in life to chance, there are many who don’t get around to making a Will, for one reason or another. Life is busy after all and planning for death is surely to tempt fate in the wrong direction. Those who are married often make the assumption that the surviving spouse will take everything, in all circumstances. Sadly, this is not the case.
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As one of the oldest international trust jurisdictions, Bermuda is known as a premier jurisdiction for trusts and other private client structures. Bermuda serves a broad spectrum of international businesses and high net worth clients and this year we proudly hosted the Transcontinental Trusts Forum: International Forum 2016

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