WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SHAREHOLDER OF A BVI BUSINESS COMPANY DIES?
Under BVI law the shares of a BVI Business Company are BVI “situs” assets. This means that they are treated as property physically located in the BVI. When a shareholder dies, the shares of the BVI Business Company form part of the deceased’s BVI estate. The process of distributing the shares to the deceased’s heirs varies depending on whether or not the deceased had a Will.
If the shareholder died with a Will:
The deceased’s shares cannot be distributed until the deceased’s BVI Will or foreign Will are probated by the BVI courts. Probate is the process by which the court will appoint an executor to execute the terms of the deceased’s Will.
As with the probate process in other countries, the contents of the deceased’s Will becomes public as does the identity of the heirs under the Will. The process can take several months. During this time bank accounts and investment accounts may be frozen. As at January 2020 the estimated cost of probating a Will in the BVI in respect of the shares of a BVI Business Company is approximately $10,000.