Disputes in (family) foundations – a case for mediation? Article of Mag. Melanie Burtscher, published by WirtschaftRegional of January 24th, 2020

Mediation is rarely the obvious choice when it comes to dispute resolution in foundations – without good reason, as this post of Mag. Melanie Burtscher shows:

Family foundations are characterized by the limited number of parties involved in the foundation; often these individuals are related to one another. Conflicts between these players are therefore genuine family and inheritance disputes which, through the addition of family wealth, have the potential to spill over into the foundation. Oftentimes in such set-ups, parties are seeking not only a solution to the current dispute, but also to (re)establish peace within the family. Mediation offers an opportunity to deal with conflict in a binding but amicable manner. It goes far beyond the possibilities presented by taking the matter to court, and is a much less expensive option than arbitration.

Mediation is also an excellent solution for resolving conflicts regarding the rights and obligations – rooted in corporate law – of those involved in the foundation. It is not only the financial markets that have changed significantly in recent years; many foundations are currently experiencing a generational shift in their administration, as well as beneficiaries. This often results in a lack of information and a lack of trust between parties within the foundation. In such cases, mediation proves to be a suitable option due to its special confidentiality safeguards, offering a setting to discuss ambiguities, eliminate misunderstandings and create a sound basis for talks.

We encourage foundations to choose mediation for conflict resolution in foundations – an excellent way to foster a culture of open discussion and support the interests of all parties.

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