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Solid foundations?

Foundations are non-existent in the England and Wales legal toolbox - we generally use trusts to achieve the same effects. So what happens when beneficiaries dispute over a foundation, using a legal system ill-equipped to deal it?

21 March 2016

In the past month the media have been fascinated by a sibling feud of epic proportions which has been unfolding at the London High Court. This dispute, between siblings Alan and Carolyn Hamilton, concerns the estate of their late father David Hamilton, a multi-millionaire businessman in the property and fashion industries.

According to reports, the late Mr Hamilton left an English estate of £4.5m when he died in 2007 and, under the terms of his English will, this was divided equally between his two children with a bequest of £500,000 to his widow. However, and this was where matters became more contentious, Mr Hamilton also left assets of £3.2m in a Liechtenstein foundation called the Rainbow Foundation.

Unlike the will, under the rules of the foundation, the assets were divided unequally between the siblings, with Carolyn, a highly respected barrister, receivin...

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