Trusts/private client in British Virgin Islands


Harneys' trusts and private client team is 'very commercial and responsive, and has a good understanding of the requirements of high-net-worth individuals, even considering the needs and challenges that may be faced by future generations'. The group regularly handles the creation, administration and termination of trusts, international wills and estates, and has also experienced an increase in contentious matters including international trust disputes and cross-border succession cases. Sheila George heads up the private wealth department, Johann Henry is global private wealth head, and Henry Mander, who is based in the Cayman Islands, is global head of the trusts practice. Senior associate Vareen Vanterpool-Nibbs recently joined from the Attorney General’s Chambers of the Government of the Virgin Islands; she frequently advises on wills and probate issues in the BVI.

Practice head(s):

Sheila George; Johann Henry; Henry Mander

Other key lawyers:

Vareen Vanterpool-Nibbs


Just what clients want from offshore counsel‘.

The team is very responsive and works collaboratively and effectively between its offices in BVI and London, bringing in corporate colleagues where necessary. The advice is technical, pragmatic and creative, and the team works successfully to very tight timeframes‘.

Henry Mander is a pleasure to deal with – great legal skills, but also commercial with a view to getting the deal done‘.

Key clients





EFG Bank

Rawlinson & Hunter (BVI)



Lombard Odier


The private client and trusts practice at Appleby regularly assists with the establishment, administration, restructuring and termination of private, charitable, purpose and commercial trusts. The group also advises on international estate planning issues for high-net-worth individuals and their families, and handles international wills with cross-border aspects, and the administration of estates with assets in mutiple jurisdictions. The contentious trusts work is headed up by Andrew Willins and the non-contentious trusts team is led from the Cayman Islands by Carlos de Serpa Pimentel.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Willins

Other key lawyers:

Carlos de Serpa Pimentel

Key clients

Donna Union Foundation

Liquidators of Peak Hotels & Resorts

Victory Success Holdings

Keleston Holding

Curatus Trust Company (Mauritius)

Sempacher Foundation

Estera Corporate Services


Work highlights

  • Acted for Curatus Trust Company (Mauritius) in a dispute between two trusts over the control of a BVI company with interests in the oil and petrochemicals sector.
  • Appeared on behalf of the second appellant in two appeals, which concerned assets transferred to a trustee.
  • Acted for the liquidators of a series of companies on their entitlement to pay their fees out of trust assets.

O'Neal Webster

O'Neal Webster is 'responsive, detailed and prepared to review the contents of legal briefs and opinions so that clients have a thorough understanding of the salient legal points'. The practice assists trustees and beneficiaries with wealth protection and probate planning issues, and the creation, administration, and termination of trusts. Managing partner Vanessa King currently serves as the chairperson of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners BVI, while London-basd Christopher McKenzie is head of the firm's trusts and estates departments, and Paul Dennis QC leads the litigation department.

Practice head(s):

Christopher McKenzie

Other key lawyers:

Vanessa King; Paul Dennis QC


They are very timely in the completion of matters‘.

Christopher McKenzie, Vanessa King and Paul Dennis QC have provided stellar service in their dealings with clients.

Key clients

HSBC International Trustee

Work highlights

  • Acted for a well-known international bank trustee in a Hastings-Bass application before the BVI court.

Walkers BVI

With a client roster of wealthy families, entrepreneurs, family offices and family businesses, Walkers BVI 'works in a very efficient manner'. The practice handles the preservation, investment and passing on of private capital and also has experience in relocating wealthy families and family offices, contentious work, commercial trust and foundation structures, charity and philanthropy-related matters and regulatory issues. Cayman-based David Pytches rejoined from Appleby's Isle of Man office, and Oliver Clifton and Rosalind Nicholson are recommended for contentious trusts matters. Former Cayman-based global wealth structuring group head Andrew Miller left for Bedell Cristin.