Foundations & Endowments2021-05-31T17:38:10+00:00


Prudent and intelligent management can maximize the impact of non-profit and philanthropic organizations. Nemesis Group provides a variety of advisory services that help in the establishment, operations and investment of such entities, offering our clients the means to achieve their goals across an open-ended timeframe.

Why do I have to draw up a will?

Because only in this way can you leave a personal mark and transmit your values to your succes-sors in an orderly manner and in accordance with your principles. Writing a will does not mean resigning yourself to imminent death, but rather defining the rules you wish to be observed and respected for the good of your heirs. It helps to transmit the philosophy of life, moral values, and feelings of each one, and to have a distribution of the goods according to the expectations of each one. A well-done will or an agreement of succession establishes clear premises and helps the heirs and their families to proceed with the distribution according to the wishes expressed by the testa-tor and without discussion. This happens within the legal framework. The law sets certain limits that cannot be exceeded, but still requires broad flexibility for the testator to decide how to dis-tribute his or her property. In some cases, the rules regulated by the inheritance law can be ob-served, but when the estate is of certain importance there are assets that must be administered and managed before being divided among the heirs. Sometimes the division itself is problematic.

A will will certainly reduce disputes among the heirs, also because they possess a value of moral respect for the will expressed by the testator.

How do I write a will?

Each country has its own rules, but in general, they are quite similar from one country to another and must be respected to give legal value to the will.

In Switzerland, the public will is written with a notary and in the presence of two witnesses. It is a common practice, but it is used especially in case of difficulty with the testator’s writing or when complex successions are involved. Moreover, the will that is presented before a notary is certain to be kept secret.

On the other hand, the handwritten will is drafted manually and in the testator’s own handwriting, without the notary, with the placement of the complete date and signature. It must be easily locat-ed by those who drafted it, ideally, it is provided with the placement of the name and surname in the hand. The risk of a handwritten will, not handed over to a notary, is that whoever finds it can easily hide it. Furthermore, in the case of articulated assets, the notary can also advise on the best way to distribute the estate among the heirs with all the technical and legal aspects. Let’s think about the case of testators who have companies, real estate, titles, etc.

At Nemesis we are proud to have extensive knowledge in this area and we will certainly be able to help you in this matter.

What basic rules may apply?

As mentioned above, the rules vary from country to country. The Nemesis Group has the knowledge and the specialized technicians to help face this delicate moment. For foreigners, there is the possibility of choosing, in addition to Swiss law, a foreign law such as that of residence or citizenship. In the absence of a choice, as a general rule, the law of the last country of residence applies, respectively that the country where the deceased had his/her main economic or family in-terests. In particular, in the case of real estate, the rules of the place/state where the property is located apply, and therefore the inheritance taxes of that country are also included.

Where can I inquire?

It is certainly worth investigating the subject and its facets. This can be done by consulting a pro-fessional who knows how to explain the minimum legitimate shares, which are mandatory in favor of heirs in different countries. In the basic Roman legal systems, minimum rights must be abso-lutely recognized for children (but the amount of these varies from country to country). In the case of common law or customary law, it is not mandatory to leave part of the inheritance to the chil-dren. Fiscal aspects are obviously also fundamental if one wants to prevent their life’s work from falling into the hands of the State. We will be happy to provide you with our legal team to analyze and optimize any inheritance situation. The Swiss regulations can be downloaded at (available in 5 languages).

Inheritance taxation

Taxation differs from country to country and variations are very important. Some countries, such as Switzerland, allow a tax-free transfer of inheritance and gift between close relatives vertically (parents-children or vice versa) and increase taxes according to the degree of kinship. Other coun-tries, such as the United States, provide for a tax of up to 50% on all assets of U.S. origin (there-fore, not only real estate on U.S. soil, but also U.S. bonds and stocks, even if not held in an ac-count in the United States, as well as, of course, on accounts and other assets in the name of the deceased in the United States), so these are very complex situations that require the intervention of tax specialists, as well as experts in inheritance issues. These potential problems must be antic-ipated and addressed prior to death. Once again, it is of the utmost importance to be well advised.

Foundations, trusts and donations

The alternatives to the will are many. Given their complexity, we are not able to share them here, but it will be a pleasure to develop the concepts in a personal meeting.

The role of ONG – Non-profit organizations

There is currently a tendency to favor nonprofit organizations as beneficiaries, perhaps in part, of the estate. They represent a good vehicle to leave their heritage for redistribution according to their principles, avoiding the intervention of the State in the management of their heritage. Our experts can also advise you better on this point.


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