Nevis Multiform Foundation
The Nevis Multiform Foundation Ordinance, passed in 2004, created a new and innovative Nevis corporate entity based on the civil law 'Foundation' that is well known in jurisdictions such as Liechtenstein and Panama. While many Foundations are formed for charitable purposes, continental European families have been using Private Foundations for asset and succession protection since well before the second world war. A Foundation may provide an easier asset management tool particularly where assets or residence are located in civil law countries.
They key difference between a Foundation and a Trust is that a Foundation, like a company or LLC, has its own separate and distinct legal personality, whereas a Trust operates under the legal personality of its trustee. A trust is frequently misunderstood and the very flexibility of a trust can lead to misunderstandings which may be solved by the use of a Foundation.
The Multiform Foundation is a hybrid vehicle without owners managed by a supervisory board on behalf of its beneficiaries and according to a defined constitution. The Nevis Foundation is 'multi-form' because it may take the form of an ordinary charitable foundation, a private interest foundation, a trust, a company, a partnership or a tax-resident foundation and it may change its form during its lifetime.
Key features of Nevis Multiform Foundations
· Provision for existing foreign and domestic business entities to continue, transfer, convert, consolidate or merge into a Multiform Foundation.
· For administrative purposes it may take the form of a trust, a company, a LLC or a partnership.
· This form may be changed at any time without affecting existence, rights or obligations.
· By-laws are filed with register and may be certified, apostilled, etc, but are not subject to public inspection.
· A multiform foundation may choose to be governed by foreign law either completely or in part.
· The name of the Foundation must end with the word 'Foundation' or the abbreviation 'FDN.'
· There is no requirement for beneficiaries to be named.
· The Foundation is tax-exempt by default, but it may elect to become tax-resident of Nevis and pay taxes at a maximum rate of 1% in order to qualify for treaty benefits if desired.
· Any legal action against the Foundation must be brought exclusively in Nevis and any proceedings apart from criminal proceedings will be held in private.
· Statute of limitations of one year for fraudulent conveyance claims. Statute of Elizabeth is excluded from Multiform Foundations by the governing law.
· Use of the Foundation as a self-owned structure may avoid CFC legislation in other jurisdictions.