Estate Planning and Trusts

Estate Planning is the process whereby a property is organized, owned and developed in the interest of the current and subsequent generations.

One key tool available in asset protection is the setting up of a Trust. This was recognized in Italian law with effect from 1 January 1992, following the ratification of the Hague Convention of 1 July 1985, as set out in the law of 16 October 1989 n. 364. As a result of this legislation, the so-called Internal Trust is now legally recognized in Italy. This type of Trust is characterized by the fact that the instructing party, beneficiaries, the trustees and the assets transferred to such a trust are all Italian, although the law governing this type of Trust may derive from the law of various foreign states.  The main effect of the setting up of such a Trust is asset separation, by which the goods or rights in Trust are considered, separate assets with respect to the assets of the trustee. This has the effect that such a trustee cannot be cross-examined by creditors of the trustee, the instructing party or the beneficiary.

The versatility and flexibility of the Trust, allows for its use in many practical cases, as part of a family or business Trust.

For example, the Trust may be used in the following practical cases:

  • in project financing;
  • to manage shareholder voting;
  • as security in commercial transactions;
  • in a Trust holding;
  • in any guarantee related to  “support during a corporate crisis” (with particular reference to agreed recovery plans, restructuring agreements and arrangements with creditors);
  • in the context of the legal separation of spouses;
  • to give guarantees to older generations of the family on the future of their grandchildren;
  • to manage money from life insurance policies, the interests of minors or vulnerable individuals;
  • for the protection of individuals with disabilities;
  • for the protection of de facto couples.

Studio De Leo is able, thanks to expertise developed over the years, to provide appropriate assistance to all those who wish to explore the possibility of creating proper estate planning through the establishment of a Trust. The partners of the firm De Leo will then have a significant holding in a separate Trust Company, and as they do not belong to a banking group or trust company, they can perform exclusively in Italy, the professional role of Trustee or Guardian of Italian Trusts, the so-called Trust Italian.

Studio De Leo, is well-able to assist and support the client, both directly and through the Trust Company of our firm, all of whose partners are professionals, bringing with them their own competences and experience, gained over 30 years. This support may be in one of the following areas:

  • in the preparatory stage of the setting up of the Trust, where, by virtue of the relationship of trust with the customer, the acquisition of all the elements that will serve in the “construction” of the Trust is essential;
  • at the time of the setting up of the Trust, when a thorough knowledge of this legal instrument is crucial;
  • during the life of the Trust, as well as in the event of extraordinary events.

Estate Planning and Trusts

The partners of the Studio De Leo also hold a significant interest in an independent Trust Company, which does not form part of any banking group or other Trust Company. It operates, exclusively in Italy, carrying out the function of professional Trustee or Guardian of  Italian Trusts, the so-called ‘Internal /Domestic / Trusts’.