The Malta Foundation

While foundations have been recognised and regulated in Malta for almost 200 years through Maltese case law and doctrinal writings, Malta enacted specific legislation to clearly define their legal framework in 2008. Today, Maltese foundations are regulated by the Second Schedule of the Civil Code (Chapter 16 of the Laws of Malta), which dedicates an entire subtitle to foundations.

The legislation allows for the set-up of two types of foundations: Private and Purpose Foundations, which have particular uses and benefits for certain clients.

Private Foundations: Set up for the benefit of a named person or class of persons called beneficiaries. The foundation’s patrimony is owned by the foundation itself (due to its separate legal personality) and is administered by designated persons (known as ‘administrators’) for the benefit of such beneficiaries.

Purpose Foundations: Set ups that have no ascertained or ascertainable beneficiaries, but are established exclusively:
  • For any charitable, philanthropic or other social purpose
  • As a non-profit making organisation
  • For any other lawful purpose (not necessarily a social purpose and can be a private purpose)

While foundations have been recognised and regulated in Malta for almost 200 years through Maltese case law and doctrinal writings, Malta enacted specific legislation to clearly define their legal framework in 2008. Today, Maltese foundations are regulated by the Second Schedule of the Civil Code (Chapter 16 of the Laws of Malta), which dedicates an entire subtitle to foundations.

Separate Legal Identity

Unlike trusts, foundations have a legal personality and the foundation itself becomes the legal owner of the foundation property. Based on Maltese company law principles and Italian and French civil law provisions, Maltese foundations require the appointment of administrators who are responsible for the administration of the foundation’s property. These are regulated under the Trusts and Trustees Act. The public deed creating a foundation must be registered. However, only a minimum of information is available to the public and confidentiality is retained.

 

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