REALWorld Law

Real estate finance


Is the concept of a trust or a split between legal ownership and beneficial ownership recognized?



In general, the concept of a trust is unknown under Dutch law (although Dutch law recognizes trusts which are validly established according to the laws of a foreign state). However, the concept of economic ownership is recognized under Dutch law. The key characteristic of economic ownership is that it allows legal ownership and beneficial interest to be separated. The legal owner is the owner of the property as far as third parties are concerned; the real property is therefore registered at the Land Registry in the name of the legal owner. By way of a contractual arrangement, the economic ownership may be separated from the legal ownership by granting the economic owner (or beneficiary) various economic rights regarding the property. For example: the right to receive the profits related to the property. Detailed contractual arrangements can be made between the legal owner and the economic owner dealing with all of the rights and obligations relating to the property, including insurance and rental income.