Q&A : Reuben Tylor and the International Relationship Property Trust

Updated: Aug 29


This year Cook Islands Finance is excited to be a Bronze Sponsor of the STEP Asia Conference (15 - 16 November 2022, Singapore). Reuben Tylor will be speaking at a panel session at the Conference on the topic of divorce where he will be talking about the newest international finance product on the market, the International Relationship Property Trust ("IRPT").



Marie Francis, CEO of Cook Islands Finance asked Reuben about the International Relationship Property Trust.

What was the inspiration behind the IRPT?

The problem I saw was that matrimonial courts keep expanding the grounds for bringing trust assets within their jurisdiction, as well as applying the principles of dividing and distribution of those trust assets irrespective of the proper administration of a trust. Trust law was simply not keeping up with developments in matrimonial property law, let alone the increase in the divorce rate. There was a need to bolster trust law to empower couples to decide how their assets might be treated in the event they separated at some time in the future.


This product requires people to spend more time on asset planning before they get married - do you think that this is realistic?

I think that when individuals and couples are making plans for their future and there are considerable assets and children involved that it is more becoming more common to spend time on asset planning before formalizing a relationship. An advantage of an IRPT is that it can be established at any time during a relationship, not necessarily just before a marriage/ civil union.


Are people from any jurisdiction able to benefit from this product? Yes, the IRPT is a tool that is available to people from any jurisdiction but in particular it will appeal to those who are from jurisdictions where courts force division and distribution of matrimonial property upon divorce.


How easy is it to set up an IRPT?

The process is relatively straightforward to those who are familiar with establishing a trust. The IRPT Act 2021 does provide for specific requirements such as: that the settlors are in a relationship at the time the trust is settled, each settlor has received separate independent legal advice and has made a full disclosure to the other of property, income and liabilities and the deed must include a 'relationship agreement'. Further specifics of these requirements are provided in the Act.


About Reuben: Reuben Tylor was born Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1949. He did primary and secondary schooling in Cook Islands and New Zealand. He graduated BA (1971) and LlB (1973) from Auckland University. He was then admitted as barrister and solicitor of NZ High Court in 1974 and commenced employment with Chapman Tripp. He joined Short & Tylor in 1975 in Cook Islands, (first private law firm in the Cook Islands) and he currently holds licence as barrister.

Reuben founded Southpac Trust Company Ltd in 1983, and Cook Islands Trust Corporation in 1998, both as 50% shareholder. Since 1987, principally engaged in providing legal services to offshore industry. His work has included development of various financial and legislative products, most important of which was development of asset protection legislation targeting the US market in late 1980’s. He is now founder of Trustees & Fiduciaries (Cook Islands) Ltd since 2015.

Reuben was the developer of the Cook Islands International Relationship Property Trust (IRPT) which was launched in December 20221. The IRPT is a new way for couples to manage their assets in the event that they separate or divorce.


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