Over the last few years a large number of civil law States have introduced the notion of trust into their internal legislation. The trust was introduced into French law in 2007.

  • What is a trust?

    • It is a contract by which one person (the settlor) transfers all or part of her property to another person (the trustee), for application thereof to act for a specific purpose for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. The transferred assets constitute a separate patrimony separate from the trustee of personal assets.

  • Legal rules on trusts:

    • Any natural person or legal entity may use a trust to manage his assets.

    • The trust must be used in a purpose of management and administration of the property transferred or be intended for the provision of guarantees and sureties; but it can not be applied in the field of transmission of heritage.

    • The parties involved are free to set the duration of an operation (it may not last more than 99 years) and the nature of their undertakings.

    • The trust agreement must be concluded by notarial deed to be valid when it relates to goods dependent of a community between spouses or in the case of undivided property (Civil Code Article 2012, paragraph 2).

    • The trust agreement must be registered within a month serving Trustee seat of taxes, and bears on property or real rights, it must be published in the mortgage office's location of the building.

  • Advantages of trusts

    • Trusts can have significant advantages for people who are classified as "vulnerable" due to their age, disability or illness and wish to have their property managed by someone they trust. The settlor of a trust can even nominate him/herself as the beneficiary.

    • A trust can be seen as an additional system to complement a posthumous power-of-attorney under which you can, during your lifetime, appoint a person of your choice to manage your estate after your death even without the agreement of any heirs. These two instruments can be part of an overall strategy for managing property.

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Frequently asked questions