Rights to alter the foundation

In the course of the existence of a foundation, circumstances may arise that make the basic possibility of adjusting the foundation documents or even of revoking the foundation appear desirable. This circumstance and the available legal options should be discussed with the founder already during advisory talks so that the founder can design the foundation in accordance with his or her needs and ideas. According to a long legal tradition, Liechtenstein foundation law offers the possibility of reserving certain rights to alter the foundation even after its formation. Possibilities include the reservation of unrestricted rights to alter the foundation on the part of the founder, such as revocation of the foundation or the right to alter the foundation purpose or organisation, as well as restricted rights to alter the foundation on the part of the executive bodies.

Rights of the founder

The law allows the founder – and only the founder – to reserve extensive rights to alter the foundation in the foundation documents, such as the right to revoke the foundation or amend the foundation documents (including the purpose or organisation of the foundation). The exercise of these rights is free from legal conditions and prerequisites.

Rights of the executive bodies of the foundation

The rights reserved to an executive body of the foundation in the articles, such as to amend the purpose, can only be exercised within the legal limits. § 31 StiftG, for instance, provides that an amendment of the purpose of the foundation by the foundation council or another executive body is allowed only if the purpose has become unachievable, impermissible, or irrational or if the circumstances have changed to the extent that the purpose has acquired a quite different significance or effect, so that the foundation is estranged from the intention of the founder. Moreover, the amendment must comply with the presumed intention of the founder, and the power to amend must be expressly reserved to the foundation council or to another executive body of the foundation in the foundation deed.

An amendment of other contents of the foundation documents, such as in particular the organisation of the foundation, is permissible by the foundation council or another executive body if and insofar as the power of amendment is expressly reserved in the foundation deed and where – safeguarding the purpose of the foundation – there is a substantially justified reason to do so.

Rights of the judge

In the case of foundations subject to STIFA supervision, the judge has subsidiary competence to amend the purpose or other contents of the declaration of establishment on application by the foundation, unless the declaration of establishment entrusted the foundation council or another executive body to do so and provided that certain legal prerequisites are met.

STIFA has the status of a party in these proceedings (§§ 33 – 34 StiftG).

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