Use of trusts is widespread in English-speaking countries. Foreign trusts are both in demand and in use in Switzerland as well. On 13 March 2019, the National Council debated whether trusts should be included in the Swiss legal framework. While there are good reasons to do so, opinions on the matter differ, even within the industry itself.
A trust is a legal relationship in which the trustor confers ownership of assets to a trustee. This is tied to an obligation to manage and use the assets to the benefit of specified beneficiaries.
Unlike a foundation, a trust has no legal identity of its own. The assets constitute a separate fund and are not a part of the trustee’s own estate.
Trusts are frequently used within the scope of estate planning and as a means of separating and protecting assets. While they have been recognized as a valid legal form in Switzerland since the ratification of the Hague Trusts Convention, the Swiss legal system does not have its own domestic trust law.