Gibraltar: Asset Protection Trusts In Gibraltar

Last Updated: 10 October 1997
October 1996 The purpose of this leaflet is to provide information on Asset Protection Trusts (APTs). This is a complex area and these notes are for information only. In all cases, professional advice should be sought.


An Asset Protection Trust is an offshore family trust established in a common law jurisdiction such as Gibraltar. An APT is designed to provide security for personal investments as a complement to overall estate and financial planning. The APT can protect inherited or earned wealth from certain types of subsequent creditor claims.

The Settlor's family may benefit from the assets settled into trust but legal title of the assets is transferred to the Trustees. This allows the Settlor to divest himself of part of his overall wealth, thereby making it unavailable for the claims of creditors whose interests arise after a period of time determined by the law. At the same time, high net worth individuals can settle assets (typically cash, investments or other property) in an APT to plan for retirement and invest prudently.


Specific legislation has been passed in Gibraltar enabling trusts which comply with certain requirements to avoid legal attack by a subsequent creditor of the Settlor. This vital benefit is discussed further below.


Gibraltar law is generally modelled on English law and this includes the Gibraltar Bankruptcy Ordinance. The law provides that, in the event of the bankruptcy of the Settlor, trusts settled by him may under certain circumstances be set aside. These circumstances usually relate to the length of time that elapses between the creation of the trust and the date of bankruptcy. If the trust is set aside this allows the Settlor's creditors access to the assets owned, until that point, by the trust. Most major jurisdictions the law of which is based on the English model retain such a feature.

On 1 December 1990 amendments to the Bankruptcy Ordinance were made which ensure, in certain circumstances, that the settlement of assets by an individual into a Gibraltar trust will not be voidable by creditors of the Settlor. The effect of this is that, providing the requirements of the legislation have been met, creditors who are aware of the existence of the settlement and who attempt to pursue the assets through the Gibraltar courts will be denied the opportunity to do so. The Court will not set aside such a trust, even if the Settlor has become bankrupt since the date of the settlement and within the period otherwise prescribed by law, providing that the establishment of the APT has been conducted in accordance with the requirements of the APT legislation.

In order for a trust to be protected by the legislation andbecome an APT, three key requirements must be fulfilled.

(1) The Settlor must:

  • be an individual;
  • not be insolvent at the date of settlement;
  • not become insolvent by virtue of settling assets
  • into the trust;
  • not be subject to any outstanding litigation.

(2) All trusts that are to be protected must be registered with the Registrar of Dispositions. Upon application for registration an initial fee of £300 and an annual fee of £100 are payable. As part of the registration process the following information must be disclosed to the Registrar of Dispositions:

  • the name, date and duration of the Trust;
  • the name and address of the Trustee;
  • the country of residence of the Settlor.

The information is provided for administrative reasons and does not disclose anything about the Settlor.

(3) The Registrar of Dispositions will only register an APT if he is satisfied that the Trustee:

  • is the sole corporate trustee of the trust;
  • is considered by him to have adequate financial and
  • administrative resources to act as a trustee of an APT;
  • has ensured that the Settlor has completed forms of enquiry approved by the Registrar. This enquiry relates to the financial circumstances of the Settlor. In addition, the Trustees are required to ensure that the Settlor has given an Affidavit of Solvency sworn before a Commissioner for Oaths. As a matter of internal procedure, and where appropriate, the Trustees may also require that court searches are carried out in the jurisdiction where the Settlor is resident to ascertain whether there is any current or prospective litigation against the Settlor;
  • has adequate professional indemnity insurance which in any event must exceed £1 million.

Coopers & Lybrand Gibraltar have received the appropriate accreditation from the Registrar of Dispositions allowing us to act as Trustees of APTs.


The new Regulations provide that the Registrar's Office is to keep all information confidential; any breach of confidentiality other than for the purpose of criminal or civil proceedings in Gibraltar is a criminal offence. Furthermore no person involved in the administration of the Regulations is required to produce in any court or before any authority any document in his possession or disclose to any court any information, other than in criminal or civil proceedings in Gibraltar in which the document or information is relevant.


All APTs created in Gibraltar will be Gibraltar tax exempt if the Trust Deed specifically excludes Gibraltarians or residents of Gibraltar from the class of beneficiaries. In such circumstances any income arising will be free of Gibraltar tax in the Trustee's hands. There is no capital gains tax in Gibraltar.

However, it is imperative that the Settlor take professional advice in the jurisdiction in which he is resident for tax purposes. In any case, under normal circumstances, an APT is established as a tax neutral vehicle, thereby having no effect on the Settlor's tax position in his country of residence.


In each case a corporate Trustee is used by us. This company is wholly owned by Coopers & Lybrand.


Coopers & Lybrand and its predecessor firms have been in Gibraltar for over 30 years. We are one of the leading firms of accountants and professional trustees in Gibraltar.

Our expertise in Gibraltar covers a wide range and for further details please see our brochure entitled "Profile of Our Firm".


If you would like to discuss the use of Asset Protection Trusts further please contact.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions