In every case of an individual dying leaving assets in the Cayman Islands, some form of grant must be obtained in order for the Cayman assets to be legally administered. The Cayman Islands as a jurisdiction has a robust framework for resolving estate disputes. The availability of professional trustee service providers to be appointed as personal representatives and who can draw on their substantial executor and trusts experience in complex estates is also a huge advantage.
Canada is a thriving market for Cayman private wealth services, with the Cayman Islands' full package of wealth structuring and lifestyle factors attracting growing numbers of high-value residents from the north. With direct flights from Toronto, the Cayman Islands are historically known to be a first-class destination for Canadian high-net-worth individuals, who have some familiarity with the Cayman Islands as a British overseas territory and fellow member of the British Commonwealth.
When a non-Cayman domiciliary dies owning Cayman assets, such as shares in a Cayman Islands company and interests in Cayman Islands funds, the transmission of such Cayman estate is governed by Cayman Islands law and a grant of representation issued by the Grand Court is usually required. This article deals with the procedures and documentation required to secure a Cayman grant for the estate of a non-Cayman domiciliary and highlights the pitfalls of which practitioners should be mindful.
Among myriad other things, the COVID-19 situation demonstrates the importance of having an up-to-date, valid will. Luckily, those who are not frontline or essential workers but are spending their time in lockdown or self-isolation may now have time to catch up on this life admin task. However, due to the current restrictions, making a will is likely to take a different format than normal.
The Special Trusts (Alternative Regime) (STAR) Law introduced so-called 'STAR trusts' into Cayman Islands law to overcome some of the difficulties arising from more conventional offshore trusts. One of the most challenging aspects of establishing a STAR trust is the drafting of the purposes for which it is established. While the STAR Law contains rules to prevent STAR trusts from failing (eg, failure resulting from object and beneficiary uncertainty), there are a number of traps for the unwary.
Foundation companies are a unique structuring option in the Cayman Islands for wealth planning and also serve as holding and special purpose vehicles for commercial transactions and cryptocurrency offerings. Although a foundation company may be used as an alternative to a Cayman trust, a number of features specific to Cayman trust law have been incorporated into the foundation company vehicle which should prove beneficial to investors and private clients.