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A family foundation in the light of the Green Paper of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology published in September 2019

In September 2019, the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology published a Green Paper, which presents the initial assumptions for introducing a family foundation to the Polish legal system.

According to the Green Paper, the purpose of introducing a family foundation is to solve a number of practical problems related to the succession of family businesses. The family foundation is to be a response to generational changes among Polish entrepreneurs who created prosperous companies years ago.

Polish legislative solutions are to be created based on comparative legal and legal analysis covering the regulations of Western European countries, such as Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland or the Scandinavian countries (Sweden).

Among the assumptions contained in the Green Paper, the following matters should be considered in particular:

  1. a family foundation would be a legal person having its registered office in the territory of the Republic of Poland;
  2. the purpose of its activity would be management and protection of assets in the manner specified by the founder in the statute;
  3. the foundation could provide funds for the maintenance of beneficiaries specified by the founder, including paying for their education;
  4. considering granting the foundation the right to conduct business activity;
  5. a family foundation could be established by way of a will or founding act, drawn up in the form of a notarial deed, and then be subject to entry in the register of associations, other social and professional organizations, foundations, family foundations and independent public foundations, health care facilities of the National Court Register and at the moment of entry it would obtain legal personality;
  6. basic matters related to the organizational structure, assets and activities of the foundation would be freely determined by the founder, of course within the statutory limits set in the statute;
  7. in addition, the statute could contain provisions covering the indication of specific beneficiaries of the family foundation, the rules for changing the statute by the founder, and after his death, by its bodies, as well as an indication of the direction and guidelines for investing the assets of the family foundation.

Considering the above-mentioned assumptions, one should generally approve of the intention to introduce a family foundation, although the final assessment of this institution will be possible after becoming familiar with the bill.

However, it should be remembered that currently applicable legal provisions contain certain legal solutions ensuring the possibility of succession of enterprises, while both their scope and purpose differ from the concept of a family foundation.

Author team leader DKP Legal Michał Puk
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