Everything You Wanted to Know About Serbian Trust (Endowment)
in an Interview With Our Lawyer Bogić Sekulović
Q: The world practically does not know that Serbia has a legal framework that regulates the establishment of a private endowment, which in its essence represents a classic “trust”, which is characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon legal system and not the legal systems that exist in Europe?
Bogić Sekulović: That is true, and it is interesting that this structure was set by socialist laws, predicting two forms of endowment: public and private, which have all legal features of an Anglo-Saxon trust, but also some important advantages that now make them an ideal form for the protection of capital.
It is interesting that the form of public endowment is widely used in Serbia, but that the private endowment has remained the best kept secret and certainly the best instrument for the equal protection of capital and other financial interests of wealthy individuals and that our company has used this form to solve problems of client from all parts of the world, which have been caused by the latest changes in world legislation due to which the classic form of trust no longer provides sufficient protection of capital and other interests of wealthy clients as well as protection of their privacy.
We are witnessing the complete disappearance of bank secrecy and protection of anonymity in the world, which makes it necessary to find new legal forms of capital and client privacy protection.
Q: What are the basic characteristics of the Serbian trust (endowment) and how is it currently better than the Anglo-Saxon trust?
Bogić Sekulović: The biggest advantage of a trust in Serbia is certainly that, in addition to all the advantages of a classic trust, which is the legal separation of owners and capital, Serbian trust, unlike the classic trust, offers the true owner and the founder of the trust the possibility to directly manage the capital within the trust for his personal goals and interests, such as buying real estate, educating children, investing in a portfolio and direct investments, as well as other ways to satisfy his personal and private needs, and the needs of his family. In a classic trust, this is the role of a trustee, which is an important link between the founder of the trust and his capital, which results in great restrictions on the use of funds, it prevents many specific steps and moves of the founders and leads to significantly higher trust maintenance costs.
It is equally important that the classic trust no longer provides any privacy protection to the founder of the trust when opening bank accounts and operating the trust, thus losing one of the most important elements of protection. In Serbia, the legal framework is much more favorable for the founder of the trust and he can preserve privacy, open accounts and use his capital to meet his needs and the needs of his family much more easily. Since the establishment of a Trust contains many legal aspects that are important to the client, all this is explained by talking directly to the client to keep him fully informed about all the opportunities and rights he obtains by establishing a Serbian trust (endowment).
Q: What is the scope of service that your company provides to clients who are interested in establishing a Serbian trust?
Bogić Sekulović: I must first point out that our company was the first in Serbia to start forming trust for personal goals and interests. Our basic orientation is to provide full and professional support in terms of all the services we provide to clients from all parts of the world, performing all legal actions and procedures during the process of forming but also further operation of the trust, including the opening of bank accounts, forming a will in accordance with the law, providing the necessary documentation and contracts for the normal operation of the trust as well as resolving all issues in relation to the state bodies of the Republic of Serbia and third parties during the entire existence of the trust. This means that the client can decide on his own whether he wants our company to support him in all aspects of the formation and operation of the trust or he wants to do some aspects independently, within the possibilities provided by the Serbian law. Depending on the specific wishes and goals of clients, we provide professional advice and consultation in order to protect clients’ interests and find the best form of cooperation and optimize the maintenance costs of the trust itself. Previous experience is very positive for all our clients because they can fully rely on us as we have an expert base in all relevant areas and we are the absolute leader in providing complex legal services to international clients in Serbia. In our team, experts speak almost all relevant world languages, which allows a client to communicate in his own language and facilitates collaborative work and mutual understanding. We are at the disposal of the client at all times, which ensures the maximum possible level of service quality and a complete sense of security for the client, especially when it comes to the clients from distant countries. This is very important because we have the ability to provide clients with remote work, largely without their presence and the need to come to Serbia, which is an additional benefit in the hardened conditions due to the pandemic.
Q: How complex is the process of establishing a trust in Serbia and what are the approximate costs of establishing and maintaining a trust?
Bogić Sekulović: This is a very important issue for some client groups and here lies another great advantage over the competition. Depending on the specific needs of a client and the intentions related to the use and management of the trust funds, we conduct individual consultations and make an offer related to the formation and operation of the trust. The price also depends on the client’s decision whether he wants to work on a turnkey basis and leave all operation aspects to our company or he wants to perform some of the functions and processes alone, but we can say that the costs of establishing and maintaining a trust are significantly lower in comparison to all other options in the world and all other jurisdictions in the Anglo-Saxon legal system. This is another key advantage of our solution and we can summarize that the decision to establish a trust in Serbia gives clients the 3 most important advantages over the existing way of forming a trust, namely: the possibility to directly manage the capital, privacy protection and significantly lower costs of establishing and maintaining a trust in Serbia. In our professional opinion, this service is, without any doubt, currently the best solution in the world for all those who need the protection of capital and privacy while meeting the needs of their family and their personal interests. Our company offers free initial consultation to all potential clients where they can find out all aspects of the establishment and operation of the Serbian trust.