Trusts, Foundations & Fiduciary Services in Malta
Although Malta is a civil law jurisdiction, this has not hindered the introduction of the trust concept, which is an institution relating to English Law. Local law has been fine-tuned over the years in response to global developments and particular requirements and today, it can safely be said that Maltese trust legislation is truly flexible while providing legal certainty in certain circumstances. Malta has also ratified the Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Trusts in 1994, thereby recognising trusts that are regulated by a law other than Maltese law.
A trust may come into existence by means of a unilateral declaration of trust by the trustee, in a will, or by means of an instrument in writing. In these circumstances, a trust may be established in such a way that the settlor and/or is the sole beneficiary, irrespective on whether it is registered locally or not. Trusts may take different forms and may be discretionary, charitable or fixed.
Setting up Trusts and Foundations in Malta
Foundations are not new to Malta but a legal framework was introduced in 2008, drawing on Italian and French civil law provisions and providing for the setting up of both a private and a purpose foundation, depending on the scope for the setting up of the structure.
A private foundation is established for the private benefit of one or more parties, clearly identifying the beneficiaries. Unlike a charitable organisation, a private foundation does not publically solicit funds. A public foundation on the other hand can be established for a specific lawful purpose.
Maltese law decrees that a foundation must be established in writing by means of a public deed or a will (both public and secret). This deed must also be officially registered with the Office of the Registrar of Legal Persons in Malta.
Fiduciary Services in Malta
Trusts and Foundations sit side by side as investment structures which are particularly suited for estate and wealth planning, and both contain particular features which make them attractive to both Maltese and foreign clients, which can be tailor-made to match their needs.
Valletta Legal provides advice to clients who seek assistance in setting up such structures, and has also garnered experience with the drafting and registration of both trust deeds and deeds of foundation, as well as acting as Protector. In addition, one of its affiliate companies, Valletta Trustees Limited, is in possession of a licence from the Malta Financial Services Authority to provide trustee and fiduciary services. It is therefore permitted to act as trustee of a trust or as Administrator of the Board of Administrators of a foundation. Furthermore, the licence also permits the company to provide fiduciary services to its clients by being registered as the lawful holder of shares in Maltese, and foreign registered companies on their behalf. This is an extremely practical and useful facility that allows flexibility and guarantees confidentiality to both resident and non-resident clients.
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