Foundations sterlingoffsh1 2016-10-29T17:17:24+00:00
Foundations have been around in various forms since the Middle Ages having originally been used for charitable and religious purposes. Over time foundations evolved first with the "family foundation" introduced by Liechtenstein in 1926 and later the "private interest foundation" popularized by Panama in 1995. Today they are widely used for both charitable and private purposes where they are an increasingly popular alternative to a trust in estate planning. Foundations have characteristics of both companies and a trusts with many referring to them as an "incorporated trust". Foundations have settlors (called founders) and beneficiaries like a trust. However, rather than trustees who hold legal title to assets of a trust and administer the assets in accordance with the trust deed, foundations have councilors appointed to manage the affairs of the foundation. Foundations, unlike trusts which are only a contractual arrangement, are separate incorporated bodies like companies. Thus when assets are transferred from the founder, they become the property of the foundation itself with full legal title. Neither the founder nor beneficiaries is considered a "beneficial owner" of the foundation assets.