In the Matter of the C Trust  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.
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:
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.
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.
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
The Seniors Law Reform Committee has made a series of recommendations to the Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment for amendments to legislation which would better protect seniors from financial abuse. This growing problem is particularly unsettling in the family context, where powers of attorney, joint bank accounts and voluntary conveyances of real estate are used by younger generations to gain control over the assets of their elders. It often remains hidden, because its victims are both ashamed and afraid that, if they resist, they will be placed in residential care and risk abandonment and emotional abuse by the perpetrating family member.
The Chief Justice has recently provided helpful guidance to practitioners seeking confidentiality orders in section 47 applications by handing down an ex tempore ruling in In the Matter of the BCD Trust, supporting the anonymisation and corresponding orders required to ensure that such applications are: “dealt with as private applications, where there is no obvious public interest in knowing about an internal trust administration matter.”
For a diversity of reasons, many of us are unwilling to properly contemplate our own beliefs and preferences concerning the subject of end-of-life care. Some of us are young enough that we have no sense of our own mortality – we are invincible and have the advantage of a seemingly infinite time horizon to get serious about the serious stuff. Others of us are older and although we want to be responsible adults and save our families from the stress of making life and death decisions on our behalf, we also worry that we may be tempting fate by making plans. The same holds true for those of us suffering from chronic and/or terminal illness. At the end of life, whenever and however that may unfold, the best that we can hope to achieve is death with comfort and dignity, in whatever manner each of us conceives of that. There is quite possibly no more important issue about which to exercise self-determination. For this reason, for the purposes of enshrining our end of life preferences, so there may be no doubt of our wishes, everyone should have an “Advance Directive for Healthcare” or “Living Will”.
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