Estate Planning

For many, estate planning can seem like a grim activity to undertake, but nothing shows a dedication to caring and longevity like planning your estate.

Let your team at Navagio Intl’ wipe away the entire idea that forming a trust or foundation is anything but the best decision you can make for yourself, your family, and your assets.

A foundation can be considered a hybridization between a trust and a company. In a foundation, the founder generally endows assets to the foundation which is then managed by the council of the foundation.

Trusts in St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis offers a favourable environment for establishing trusts, which can be used for various purposes, including estate planning, asset protection, and charitable giving. Key points related to trusts in St. Kitts and Nevis may include:

St. Kitts and Nevis typically requires at least one trustee to be a resident of the country, ensuring a local connection to the administration of the trust.

The jurisdiction offers asset protection trusts, which can help shield assets from creditors and legal claims under certain conditions.

Kitts and Nevis is known for its tax-efficient environment, and offshore trusts established by non-residents may offer tax advantages. However, it’s crucial to understand the tax implications based on your specific circumstances and jurisdictional regulations.

St. Kitts and Nevis has privacy laws that protect the confidentiality of trust arrangements and beneficiaries.

Foundations in St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis also allows for the establishment of foundations, which can serve as vehicles for charitable and philanthropic activities. Foundations may offer benefits such as:

Foundations can be used to support charitable causes both within St. Kitts and Nevis and internationally.

Foundations can help families create a lasting legacy by supporting causes that align with their values.

Foundations may provide certain tax benefits, but it’s important to understand the specific tax regulations and implications.

Foundations can offer flexibility in structuring charitable activities and can involve family members in the decision-making process.

Panama offers two main types of foundations:

St. Kitts and Nevis offers a favourable environment for establishing trusts, which can be used for various purposes, including estate planning, asset protection, and charitable giving. Key points related to trusts in St. Kitts and Nevis may include:

This type of foundation is often used for estate planning, wealth management, and asset protection..

This type of foundation is established for charitable or philanthropic purposes and must benefit the public or a particular community. It requires compliance with specific regulations to ensure its charitable nature.

Key Features

Panamanian foundations typically offer the following features:

The person or entity establishing the foundation is known as the “founder.”

Foundations have a council or board that manages the foundation’s affairs and assets. The council members can be individuals or legal entities.

For private interest foundations, beneficiaries are designated by the founder and can include individuals, families, or entities. Public interest foundations benefit the public or specific charitable causes.

Foundations can hold various types of assets, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, and other properties.

Panama offers confidentiality and privacy protections for foundation details and beneficiaries.

Legal and Tax Considerations

Panama’s foundation law provides for favorable tax treatment, but the specifics can vary based on the type of foundation and its activities. Foundations may benefit from exemptions on income tax, capital gains tax, and other taxes, but it’s crucial to understand the tax implications based on your specific circumstances.

The Cayman Islands provides for the establishment of various types of trusts, including:

In a discretionary trust, the trustee has the discretion to determine how to distribute the trust’s assets among a class of beneficiaries. This offers flexibility and can be used for asset protection and tax planning.

In this type of trust, the beneficiaries have fixed entitlements to the trust’s income or capital. It’s often used for specific purposes, such as providing for a beneficiary’s education or medical expenses.

Charitable trusts are established for charitable purposes and must benefit the public or a specific community. The Cayman Islands is known for its philanthropic and charitable activities facilitated through such trusts.

The Cayman Islands also allows for purpose trusts, which are established for specific non-charitable purposes. These purposes can be quite broad and varied, offering flexibility in structuring trusts for unique purposes.

Key Features

Cayman Islands trusts typically offer the following features:

The person who establishes the trust is known as the “settlor.”

The trustee is responsible for managing the trust’s assets and carrying out the terms of the trust deed. Corporate trustees are commonly used in the Cayman Islands.

A protector can be appointed to oversee the trustee’s activities and ensure the trust’s objectives are met. The protector’s role and powers can be tailored to the settlor’s preferences.

Trusts can have a wide range of beneficiaries, including individuals, families, charitable organizations, and even specific purposes.

The Cayman Islands is known for its strong asset protection laws, making it a popular jurisdiction for creating trusts designed to safeguard assets from creditors and legal claims.


The Cayman Islands offers several advantages for establishing trusts, including:

The Cayman Islands is known for its tax-neutral environment, making it attractive for international estate planning and asset protection.

The jurisdiction respects the confidentiality of trust details and the identity of beneficiaries.

The Cayman Islands’ trust law is well-established and offers flexibility in designing trusts to meet specific goals.

Registration and Administration

Setting up a trust in the Cayman Islands involves drafting a trust deed, selecting trustees, and registering the trust with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA). The trust must have a licensed trustee or a registered private trust company.

Potential uses of trust and foundations


Trusts can help manage and distribute assets to beneficiaries after the settlor’s death, often bypassing the probate process and providing privacy for beneficiaries.

Certain types of trusts, like irrevocable trusts, can protect assets from creditors or legal claims, ensuring they are preserved for the beneficiaries.

Trusts can be used to minimize estate taxes and other taxes by utilizing specific legal provisions.

Trusts can provide for individuals with special needs, ensuring their financial well-being without jeopardizing government benefits.

Charitable trusts allow individuals to donate to charitable causes while potentially receiving tax benefits.


These are typically funded by an individual, family, or a small group of donors. They have more control over their activities and investments, but they are subject to stricter regulations to ensure that their charitable activities are genuine and not benefiting the donors excessively.

These are funded by a larger pool of donors and often engage in more widespread charitable activities. They enjoy certain tax benefits and have more flexibility in their operations.

Purposes of Trusts and Foundations

Both trusts and foundations can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

Efficiently managing and preserving wealth for future generations.

Supporting charitable causes, such as education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and community development.

Passing down values and assets to descendants while ensuring responsible management.

Safeguarding assets from potential risks and preserving them for specific purposes.

Minimizing tax liabilities through strategic planning and charitable giving.

Providing for family members, dependents, or individuals with special needs.

It’s important to note that the specific uses and regulations surrounding trusts and foundations can vary depending on the jurisdiction and legal framework in which they are established.

There are several types of legal trusts, each with its own specific set of purposes and uses, some of the most common include:

Also known as a revocable trust or living trust, this type of trust allows you to maintain control over your assets during your lifetime and can help avoid probate upon your death.

In contrast to a revocable trust, an irrevocable trust cannot be easily modified or revoked once established. It is often used for asset protection, tax planning, and Medicaid planning.

Created within a will and comes into effect upon the death of the person creating the will (the testator). It can provide for the management of assets on behalf of beneficiaries, especially minor children.

Established for charitable purposes, allowing you to donate assets to a charitable organization while potentially receiving tax benefits.

Designed to provide for the financial needs of a person with disabilities without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Provides a level of protection for beneficiaries from creditors and prevents them from squandering their inheritance.

Created to hold and manage family assets, often for the benefit of family members across multiple generations. It can help with estate planning, wealth preservation, and minimizing estate taxes.

Intended to pass wealth from generation to generation while minimizing estate taxes. It can also provide asset protection for future generations.

Used to transfer a primary residence or vacation home out of your estate while retaining the right to live in it for a certain period. This can help reduce potential estate tax liability.

Designed to transfer assets to beneficiaries with potential gift tax savings, while allowing the grantor to retain an annuity or unitrust payment for a specified period.

Used to provide income for a surviving spouse while controlling the ultimate distribution of trust assets to other beneficiaries, often children from a previous marriage.

Created to own and manage life insurance policies outside of the insured’s estate, helping to avoid estate taxes on the insurance proceeds.

Utilized to make gifts to beneficiaries that qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion, allowing the beneficiaries to withdraw the gifted funds for a limited period.

Allows you to provide for the care and maintenance of your pets after your death or incapacitation.

These are just some examples of the various types of legal trusts and their uses. It’s important to note that the information provided here does not constitute advice and you should acquire independent legal advice to determine which type of trust is most appropriate for your specific needs and circumstances.