Isle of Man Foundations


Historically, wealthy families in Europe have established Family Foundations incorporated in the Principality of Liechtenstein (a Neutral jurisdiction for purposes of wars, etc.) for the purpose of estate planning and succession, to ensure the safe transition of assets to the family’s beneficiaries.

  • Foundations typically may not carry on commercial (operating, for profit, etc.) activities.
  • Foundations have no shareholders.

An Isle of Man foundation consists of:

  • a ‘founder’ – similar to a settlor of a trust
  • an ‘object’ – the purpose of the foundation, which may be charitable or non-charitable, and may simply be to benefit a person or class of persons
  • a ‘beneficiary’ – a person or class who may be permitted to benefit under the objects
  • a ‘foundation council’ – similar to a board of directors, or trustees in a trust. Council members are bound to act within the scope of the foundation rules and have explicit responsibilities and exposure to liability if they engage in misconduct
  • a ‘registered agent’ – who must be a licence holder in the Isle of Man under the Financial Services Act 2008
  • an ‘enforcer’ – the instruments may or may not require the foundation to have an enforcer (which may be a company), to whom the council is accountable
  • ‘foundation rules’ – the rules governing the foundation, including the procedures for appointing, removing and remunerating council members and the registered agent. The rules are not public documents;
  • ‘foundation instrument’ – the document submitted by the registered agent on behalf of the founder, which records the name of the foundation, the object(s), who the registered agent is and who the council members are. This is a public document.

Benefits and uses of a Foundation:

  • international estate planning
  • charity vehicle
  • privacy
  • anonymity
  • asset protection
  • to hold assets other than for investment

Fortress can provide an affordable, flexible, private, estate planning vehicle that can be used to hold assets such as corporations, trusts, bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, or any other type of asset.

If you would like more information on Isle of Man Foundation Structures, please contact Andrew Ash …