Business registration agency takes over listing of trusts from Lands ministry

Business Registration Service Director General Kenneth Gathuma. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Business Registration Service (BRS), a State agency under the Attorney-General’s office, has assumed registration of trusts under a new law.

BRS has taken over the role from the Ministry of Lands after President William Ruto assented to the Statute Laws (Miscellaneous Amendment) Act, 2024 last month.

“Effective Wednesday 22nd May 2024 the State Department for Lands and Physical Planning shall cease receiving applications for registration and incorporation of trusts,” said BRS director-general Kenneth Gathuma in a statement.

This has further expanded the mandate of BRS, which is also in charge of registering other entities including companies, partnerships and business names.

A trust is a legal arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary.

The government charges Sh10,000 for the registration of a trust.

Trusts are increasingly becoming popular in Kenya by individuals seeking to effectively manage their estate.

The amendment of the law in 2021 through the Trustees (Perpetual Succession) (Amendment) Act, 2021 saw the introduction of new categories of trusts, including family trusts.

Once assets are transferred into a family trust, they cease to be the personal property of the settlor and become the property of the trust itself.

“The primary objective of a family trust is to create or preserve wealth for future generations, rather than operating as a trading entity,” said law firm Bowmans in an analysis.

According to analysts, trusts are gaining popularity as they offer many advantages, including benefiting oneself in his or her lifetime.

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