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LONDON, UK Office | +44 20 3769 1690
CORK CITY, Ireland Office | +353 21 202 8069
Contact Monday to Friday: 9 am to 6 pm GMT time 
Skype: CALL | CHAT



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Setting up a Private Foundation
Where and When?

A foundation is formed by a person known as the founder (who may be either an individual or corporate body) who provides (through an “endowment”) the assets to be administered by the foundation. The foundation’s assets are to be administered through contractual, rather than proprietary, principles.

Unlike a trust, a foundation is a separate legal entity. It is managed by a council of members. A foundation can hold assets, enter into agreements with third parties and can sue or be sued in its own name. On the face of it a foundation is similar to a corporation. However, unlike a corporation, a foundation does not have any shareholders. A foundation can have beneficiaries, similar to a trust, or it can have purely charitable purposes. Contrary to trust beneficiaries, who have equitable rights, the beneficiaries of a foundation have contractual rights in relation to the assets of the foundation.

A founder may retain some control over the foundation’s assets through reserving certain powers under its rules. Powers that are commonly reserved include powers relating to the investment strategy of the foundation and the appointment or removal of beneficiaries. The founder may also be given the power to revoke the foundation.

Foundation’s Purpose

Foundations can be created for charitable or non-charitable purposes; or for no purpose other than to benefit a beneficiary or the founder.

A foundation may be created with no beneficiaries as long as there is a clear specific purpose as described in the foundation’s charter.

Foundation Multipurpose Use
  • Foundation can be used for charitable or non-charitable purposes, inheritance and estate planning, wealth management.
  • Protection from Creditors
  • Foundation stands independent from the founder’s personal circumstances. The foundation cannot be void or voidable in the event of the founder’s bankruptcy, insolvency, or liquidation.
Foundation Benefits

No Taxation – Depending on where the foundation is registered and on the on the incomes generated, most of the foundations are full tax exempted.

Total Foreign Ownership – Founder, beneficiaries and assets can all be from overseas.

Asset Protection – A foundation, in most of the cases, provides complete worldwide asset protection. The foundation owns all of the assets transferred from the founder. As a separate legal entity, the foundation isolates the assets from the founder and the beneficiaries.

Estate Planning – The founder and the beneficiaries do not own any of the assets and the foundation maintains total control regarding the distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries. The foundation can own the assets for generations and distribute income to the beneficiaries and their heirs for many generations.

Privacy – In most of the jurisdictions where a foundation is registered, the names of the founder, beneficiaries, and protector are not included in the public records.

No Minimum Capital – There is no minimum capital requirement for foundations.

Foundation Structure

Founder – The founder of a foundation is the one who creates it and may consist of more than one person. Founders may be individuals or corporate bodies. A founder may also be its only beneficiary. However, the founder cannot be the protector. The founder and anyone contributing assets to a foundation without full consideration cannot be a Belize resident.

Foundation Council – The foundation council manages, represents, and acts on behalf of the foundation with all third parties. Its powers and duties must be in accordance with the foundation’s charter.

Protector – The foundation’s charter may provide for the selection of a protector. This is typically someone known and trusted by the founder. The foundation’s charter will specify the protector’s powers, duties, rights, and responsibilities. The foundation’s by-laws may also provide such specifications of the protector. The protector will never be a foundation council member. The protector owes a fiduciary duty to the founder, beneficiaries, and the foundation.

Beneficiaries – The beneficiaries are the people named in the foundation’s charter or by-laws either specifically by name or referring to an identifiable class. Beneficiaries are the ones entitled to the benefits described in the foundation’s charter or by-laws.

Foundations may be formed with no beneficiaries as long as there is a specific clear purpose for its existence described in the foundation’s charter.

Foundation Charter

The foundation charter is the official document creating a foundation in Belize. The Act requires every Charter to include the following information: 

  1. The Foundation’s name;
  2. The Founder’s name and address;
  3. The Foundation’s purpose;
  4. The initial property endowment with the registered agent’s certified confirmation;
  5. Designation of the beneficiaries;
  6. Designation of the duration of existence (indefinite or fixed period of time);
  7. The Secretary’s name and address (if one is appointed);
  8. The Registered Agent’s name and address;
  9. The names and addresses of the foundation council members (nominee members are permitted); and
  10. Other important provisions regarding the foundation’s management.

As clients and planners look to flexibility in wealth planning vehicles, the foundation provides an alternative to the more traditional trust.

Which one will be the right one for you?
That will depend on your own and specific purposes you wish the trust for!

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter.
Technical advice should be sought about your specific needs and requirements.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter.
Technical advice should be sought about your specific needs and requirements.

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