Transferring Assets

Find out about legally transferring assets to heirs in Costa Rica...

Trust Fund (Fideicomiso)

A Trust Fund is relatively simple and flexible. It can be set up and used to transfer (and manage) different types of assets (financial, real estate, others) for heirs. In this case, the Trustor (Fideicomitente) transfers the assets to the Trust Fund for the Trustee (Fiduciario) to manage the assets in strict accordance with good practice and detailed instructions specified in the Trust. Benefits produced by the Trust, if any, also have specific beneficiaries (Fideicomisario), again as indicated in the Trust. This procedure provides a way to plan for an orderly transfer of assets, in a timely fashion and under adequate direction and management. Costs are reasonable, although the initial set up costs could be somewhat higher.

Corporations

A privately-owned corporation (Sociedad Anonima) and a privately-owned limited liability corporation (Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitadad - SRL) are used for corporations or companies with issued/held stock or shares to legally transfer assets (financial, real estate, others) to heirs. Since companies do not die but people do, a transfer of assets from the original owner to his/her heirs can take place. The held stock which determines ownership of the company can be transferred (sold or donated) from the original owner(s) to the heirs or new owners. The new owners (heirs) will then control the company as they will own 50 percent or more of the shares and usually they would also have complete powers of attorney. However, timing could be a problem since a formal contract for selling or donating the company's stock must be signed by the original owner (in good health) and the new owners.

It is recommended that a reputable attorney is used who can set up this procedure and recommend additional steps to take depending on the specifics of each case.