When families consider succession and estate planning, the use of family trusts is often the first consideration. But for some families, the loss of control associated with passing legal ownership of valuable assets to independent trustees is a step too far. This is particularly so for those from civil law jurisdictions and for those who are less familiar with the concept of trusts.

A foundation is a viable alternative to a trust combining the flexibility of a trust with some of the features of a company, such as having a separate legal identity. In addition, the regulations of the foundation can be drafted so as to ensure the founder retains many controlling rights, determines how the foundation council is composed and how its decision making process works.

Many clients find it reassuring that they can exercise such control by being a member of the foundation council and, that in doing so, they don’t generally assume the same level of fiduciary responsibilities for the beneficiaries as would a trustee of a conventional trust.

Private Foundations were pioneered in Liechtenstein and Panama, with the Bahamas being the first common law jurisdiction to follow. Over the last decade Jersey, Guernsey, Mauritius and the Isle of Man have all introduced foundations legislation, with subtle differences in each jurisdiction, so it is important to consider where a foundation is incorporated.

Foundations offer many of the benefits of trust structures such as wealth preservation, succession planning and confidentiality with the important distinction that they can also accommodate the founder or person(s) nominated by the founder exercising control.

We are experienced working as a member of councils where there is both Minerva and family representation, or where regulations permit, supporting the family in a more limited capacity. Minerva can provide the following services:

  • In collaboration with professional advisers, guidance on the most suitable jurisdiction of incorporation
  • Provide professional foundation council members and Qualified Member on the council of a Jersey foundation
  • Co-ordination of external advice and access to specialists
  • Accounting and financial reporting
  • General administration including maintenance of banking and investment accounts and other assets
  • Corporate secretarial services ensuring standards of good governance met

Minerva provides Foundation Services through its offices in Jersey, Mauritius, Geneva, Dubai, Kenya and London.


“You have been amazing and I am glad you are looking after dad's file.”

Private client, Nairobi