FOUNDATIONS & ENDOWMENTS
Prudent and intelligent management can maximize the impact of non-profit and philanthropic organizations. Nemesis Group provides a variety of advisory services that help in the establishment, operations and investment of such entities, offering our clients the means to achieve their goals across an open-ended timeframe.
Why do I have to draw up a will?
Because only in this form you may leave a personal imprint and transmit to your successors your values in an orderly way and according to your principles. Drawing up a will does not mean resigning yourself to an imminent death but rather defining the rules you want to be observed and respected for the good of your heirs. It helps to transmit one’s life philosophy, one’s moral values and feelings and have the distribution of the assets according to one’s expectations. A well-made will or a succession agreement establishes clear premises and helps the heirs and their families to proceed with the distribution according to the wishes expressed by the testator and without discussion. This happens within the legal framework. The law provides for certain limits that cannot be overcome but still requires ample flexibility for the testator to decide how to allocate his assets. In some cases the rules regulated by the inheritance law can be observed but when the patrimony is of a certain importance there are assets that must be administered and managed before being divided among the heirs. Sometimes the division itself is problematic.
A will certainly reduces the quarrels among the heirs these also because owns a value of moral respect of the will expressed by the testator.
How do I write a will?
Each country has its own rules, but generally these are quite similar from country to country and must be respected in order to grant legal value to the testament.
In Switzerland, the public will is drawn up with a notary and in the presence of two witnesses. This is standard practice but is particularly used in case of difficulty with the handwriting by the testator or when dealing with complex successions. Furthermore, the will being filed with a notary has the certainty that it will not be hidden.
On the other hand, the handwritten will is drawn up manually and in the testator’s own handwriting, without the notary, with the affixing of complete date and signature. The same must be easily traceable to those who drafted it, ideally it is supplied with the affixing of name and surname in one’s hand. The risk of a handwritten will, not delivered to a notary, is that whoever finds it could easily hide it. Furthermore, in the case of articulated assets, the notary can also provide with advice on how best divide the heritage among the heirs with all the technical and legal aspects. Think of the case of testers who have companies, real estates, securities, etc.
At Nemesis we are proud to dispose of ample know how in this matter and will certainly be able to help you in this matter.
What basic rules may apply?
As mentioned, the rules vary from country to country. Nemesis Group has the know-how and specialized technicians to best help face this delicate moment. For foreigners there is the possibility of choosing, in addition to Swiss law, a foreign law as that of residence or citizenship. In the absence of choice, as a rule the law of the last country of residence applies, respectively of the country where the deceased had his main economic or family interests. In particular, for real estates appliy the rules of the location/state where they are located, therefore also including any inheritance taxes from that country.
Where can I inquire?
It is certainly worth investigating the topic and its facets. This can be done by consulting a professional who knows how to explain the minimum legitimate shares, that are mandatory in favor of the heirs in the different countries. In the Roman basic legal systems, minimum rights must be absolutely recognized for children (but the amount of these varies from country to country). For the Anglosaxon or common law it is not mandatory to leave part of the inheritance to the children. Tax aspects are obviously also fundamental if you want to prevent that your life’s work fall into the hands of the state. We will be happy to provide with our legal team to analyze and optimize any succession situation. The Swiss rules can be downloaded at https://www.ch.ch/it/eredita (available in 5 languages).
Taxation differs from country to country and the variations are very important. Some countries, such as Switzerland, allow a transfer free of inheritance and donation taxes between close relatives in vertical form (parents-children or vice versa) and increasing taxes depending on the degree of relationship. Other countries, such as the United States, provide for taxation of up to 50% on all assets with US origin (therefore not only real estate on American soil but also American bonds and equities even if not held on an account in the United States, as well, of course, on the accounts and other assets held in the name of the deceased in the United States), therefore very complex situations that require the intervention of tax specialists as well as experts on inheritance matters. Such potential problems mus be foreseen and dealt withbefore death. Again, it is of utmost importance to be well adivced.
Foundations, trusts and donations
The alternatives to the will are many. Given their complexity, it is not possible for us to share them in this place but it will be our pleasure to develop the concepts in a personal meeting.
The role of ONG – Non-profit organizations
It is now a trend to favor non-profit organizations as beneficiaries, perhaps in part, of inheritance. These represent a good vehicle to leave your assets for a redistribution according to your principles, avoiding the intervention of the State in the management of one’s assets. Our experts can also advise you best on this point.
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