Two recent Liechtenstein Court decisions (decision of 5 September 2015, 05 HG.2014.326 05 CG.2014.306 of 1 April 2016, 05 CG.2014.306) deal in detail with the scope of the beneficiary rights. Both decisions extent the information rights of the beneficiaries.
In the decision of 5 September 2015, the Supreme Court held that a beneficiary of a foundation had a right for information also with respect to the past. Indeed, the Supreme Court granted the applicant access to the foundation documents for the period the applicant’s mother (the previous and first beneficiary) had been alive. In the decision of 1 April 2016, the Supreme Court granted an insolvency administrator access to the documents of a Liechtenstein establishment (Anstalt). The insolvency administrator had been appointed by a German court to handle the bankruptcy proceedings regarding the estate of the previous sole beneficiary of the Anstalt.
With these decisions, the Supreme Court certainly strengthens the “foundation governance”. The supervision of the ownerless structures like a foundation is given more importance. It is, therefore, important to consider appropriate measures to prevent conflicts in this context. The possibilities vary from the restrictions of the information rights in the foundation documents to the division of the one single portfolio into many separate ring-fenced accounts as there are beneficiaries or a periodic confirmation of the beneficiaries that they have received everything they were entitled to.