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Old 23.03.2013, 16:43
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ombudsman or Attorney General in Switzerland

I received a note from my Dad who lives in the USA asking the following:

Play golf with a German guy who is the last living relative of a wealthy man (deceased for over 20 years). The man had an "estate - trust??" in a bank in Zurich. The "Trust" is administered by some Lawyers from Belgium. Apparently the man intended for the heirs to receive lump sums at times such as reaching age 21. What has happened is that the "Trust" grew faster than the money went out so there is a considerable amount still there.

My friend is wealthy in his own right. He does not need the money but is suspicious about the handling of the "Trust" because he has been stonewalled by the Lawyers.

He would like to know if there is anything like an ombudsman or Attorney General in Switzerland who he could ask to check and see if the "Trust" is being handled correctly.

Would anyone here know where who I can direct them to for help?

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 23.03.2013, 16:58
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Re: ombudsman or Attorney General in Switzerland

I don't know offhand, but I would think it would be a matter for the Belgian authorities rather than Swiss if the lawyers are based in Belgium. Presumably any mishandling of the trust should be investigated there.

Do you know which bank the funds are held with here? I know he probably couldn't get detailed info on the trust, but he could make enquiries of the bank about who would deal with this sort of thing here in Switzerland.

A dead German with a trust fund in a bank in Switzerland that's administered by lawyers in Belgium sounds suspicious to me to start with.
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Old 24.03.2013, 09:36
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Re: ombudsman or Attorney General in Switzerland

Thanks Medea, I will follow up with my Dad and see if I can get more info. It does smell a bit fishy to me....
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Old 29.03.2013, 17:23
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Re: ombudsman or Attorney General in Switzerland

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I don't know offhand, but I would think it would be a matter for the Belgian authorities rather than Swiss if the lawyers are based in Belgium. Presumably any mishandling of the trust should be investigated there.
You need to know where the trust has its legal seat, the authorities of that country have jurisdiction (in Switzerland "Stiftungsaufsicht"). Where the lawyers have their office or where the bank account is registered can become relevant in a later stage, but is certainly not the starting point.

Anyway, after he found out were the trust has its seat, he definately needs a local attorney, there is no way laymen could help him with this.
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Old 29.03.2013, 18:04
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Re: ombudsman or Attorney General in Switzerland

Yes, that will be the governing factor borsir. Unless there's something in the trust documents that state that UK or Swiss law should apply, then Belgium is most likely where he's going to have to follow up on the legal side.
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Old 29.03.2013, 18:14
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Re: ombudsman or Attorney General in Switzerland

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Yes, that will be the governing factor borsir. Unless there's something in the trust documents that state that UK or Swiss law should apply, then Belgium is most likely where he's going to have to follow up on the legal side.
A choice of law does only affect the material law governing the trust, but has no influence on the jurisdiction of the authorities at the seat of the trust.
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