On 24 August at 11:00 Katrin Sepp will defend her doctoral thesis "Legal Arrangements in Estonian Law Similar to Family Trusts“.
Prof. Janno Lahe (University of Tartu)
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Magdalena Habdas (University of Silesia, Katowice)
During nearly 30 years of independence, many Estonian entrepreneurs have created a pool of assets that, if managed in an undivided and prudent manner, could ensure a regular income for the entrepreneur himself and for future generations. However, there is currently no good legal solution in Estonia that would prevent the dispersal of the estate (business), ensure continuity in the management of business after death as well as protect it from family disagreements, excessive consumption or risk courage of some family members or possible attacks by creditors. Therefore, individuals seek help from foreign countries where appropriate legal solutions exist – often foreign trusts are used.
Trusts allow for the separation of assets from a person’s patrimony to ensure their preservation and (presumably profitable) management. At the same time, the income can be guaranteed to beneficiaries without the assets forming part of their patrimony and without them having decision-making powers over the assets. In addition to the aforementioned case of an entrepreneur’s death, trusts have multiple uses in family asset management, such as keeping the family home out of reach of creditors, administration and providing for vulnerable persons (minors, disabled persons, unborn children, addicts), etc.
The main objective of the dissertation is to find out whether and to what extent the existing asset management solutions in Estonian law make family wealth planning goals in a trust-like manner possible. Under consideration are the mandate agreement, the institutes of the pre/subsequent successor and testamentary executor and private foundations. A further objective of the work is to highlight the necessary changes to the existing legislation.