Trusts/private client in British Virgin Islands


Leveraging its established history in the BVI, Harneys' private client and trusts team regularly advises clients on the creation, administration and termination of high-value trusts, as well as international wills and estates. The group also acts in contentious matters including international trust disputes and succession cases, supporting the firm's Cayman office. Former BVI private wealth head Sheila George and former global private wealth head Johann Henry departed to George Henry Partners LP in 2020. Cayman-based Henry Mander now leads the global private wealth team and frequently works with a number of local trust companies, international trust companies and family offices. As head of the firm’s private wealth and regulatory practice in the BVI, Ayana Hull regularly advises on the regulatory aspects of private wealth transactions and disputes. Senior associate Vareen Vanterpool-Nibbs handles wills and probate issues.

Practice head(s):

Henry Mander; Ayana Hull

Other key lawyers:

Vareen Vanterpool-Nibbs


‘We primarily work with Ayana Hull who has taken on the roll of handling private clients and property transactions. Ayana has come to this position with a wealth of experience dealing with Government at all levels. This knowledge is critical when dealing with landholding licences and other Governmental processes which require an understanding of the system and the persons who work within the system.’

‘Harneys is my first choice for advice and assistance on Trust / private client matters in the British Virgin Islands. Over the years, I have found that they provide practical and commercially driven legal advice and stand out for their responsiveness and availability. The legal updates provided by the Harneys’ team are insightful and helps clients stay apprised of latest legal developments. Another exceptional quality is their willingness to work within budgets prescribed by the client.’

‘In addition to providing practical legal advice, the Harneys team stands out for their responsiveness and availability. The Harneys team not only stays on top of the latest legal developments, but also ensure that their knowledge is shared with the clients. Additionally, they endeavour to provide quality legal services within the client’s budget. This is why, Harneys is my first port of call for advice and assistance on Trust / private client matters relating to the British Virgin Islands.’

‘The individuals lawyers I have interacted with represent Harneys exceptionally well and reaffirm Harneys position as one of top advisors on Trust/ private client matters in the British Virgin Islands.’

Key clients





EFG Bank

Rawlinson & Hunter (BVI)



Lombard Odier


Work highlights

  • Advised the corporate trustee of a substantial BVI trust on the divorce of the settlors.
  • Acting for a UHNW central American family where the deceased father established a BVI trust in the 1990s; addressed the governance of that trust by appointing a Private Trust Company as trustee and modernising its terms and established new BVI trusts for each branch of the next generation of the family while developing a very sophisticated underlying corporate structure with A and B classes of shares in each of the holding companies.
  • Acting for a Caribbean-based single family office and the existing BVI trust company in relation to its 45 underlying trusts.

Walkers BVI

Walkers BVI is noted for its contentious trust capabilities, notably representing ultra-high-net-worth clients from Russia, the CIS and Africa before BVI courts. The group receives instructions on the preservation, investment and passing on of private capital trusts and foundations for wealth planning purposes, and also has experience in succession planning issues, wills and probate work, wealthy family and family office relocations, commercial trust and foundation structures, charity and philanthropy matters, and regulatory issues. Key names include Cayman-based non-contentious expert and group head David Pytches, who specialises in restructurings, migrations and new trust establishments. Oliver Clifton and Rosalind Nicholson are also noted for contentious trusts matters.

Practice head(s):

David Pytches


‘The team has an excellent segregation of roles among individual members who are able to assist in areas of their individual expertise. Willing to work with legal teams of other jurisdictions and balance the concerns and impacts in different jurisdictions and areas of law.’

‘Individuals who worked with me have demonstrated a high degree of professionalism and are able to assist in providing thorough analysis of the case and pragmatic solutions to issues without losing sight of other related problems. In particular, they have been showing care and concern of clients’ needs and are able to follow up the actions required without missing any key components to settle the matter.’

Key clients


Rawlinson & Hunter

Trident Trust


Appleby primarily assists clients with the establishment, administration, restructuring and termination of private, charitable, purpose and commercial trusts, with additional expertise in handling international estate planning issues for high-net-worth individuals and their families. Local contentious group head Andrew Willins is the key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Willins


Dividing his time between the firm's BVI and Cayman offices, Robert Lindley heads up the Conyers private client and trusts practice in the BVI, where he acts on a range of non-contentious trust matters and trust disputes. The department is particularly active in trust restructuring applications, trustee direction and Beddoe applications, breach of trust claims and rectification applications. Another key name to note is associate Matthew Brown.

Practice head(s):

Robert Lindley

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Brown


‘Conyers is a stand-out outfit. They simply have really good people across the board with some stellar individuals.’

‘Matthew Brown is a stand-out performer. He has done all the hard work and thinking for you before you even start on the case. Great at forward-thinking and strategic planning. Combines strong technical legal ability with a commercial nous that is often desperately lacking in this field of practice. A partner-in-waiting.’

‘Very responsive and client focused team, who manage to combine deep analysis with a good humoured approach.’

‘Matthew Brown – up and coming star.’

O'Neal Webster

London-based Christopher McKenzie leads O'Neal Webster’s BVI trusts and estates practice, which handles a mix of probate planning and wealth protection mandates, and is also adept at advising on the creation, administration, restructuring and termination of trusts. Managing partner Vanessa King, who acts on trust formation and estate matters, currently serves as the chairperson of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners BVI.

Practice head(s):

Christopher McKenzie

Other key lawyers:

Vanessa King

Work highlights

  • Prepared the deeds of indemnity for a leading trust company.
  • Prepared trust amendments and advised on BVI corporate law for a UHNWI, advising on the necessary revisions to a complex BVI trust structure to hold assets worth approximately $1bn.
  • Prepared a full suite of VISTA Trust precedents for a major trust company with a significant presence in the BVI.