Living Trust in Colombia


Why Should I have a Living Trust in Colombia? Most importantly the assets placed into a Colombian trust cannot be forced into liquidation in divorces, taxes, or law suits. Trusts also represent an excellent way to reduce taxes for inheritance passed to children or your spouse.  A Living Trust in Colombia is used to protect your home, property, bank accounts, shares in a Colombian company, business establishment, vehicles, pets, jewelry, valuables, and other assets.

Colombia Legal Alert: Couples enter into a common law marriage in just 2 years! Spouses can have rights to percentages as high as 50% on property purchases or profits from rentals and sales which happen during a estate planning in colomiba

living trust (Fideicomiso Civil in Spanish) is a legal document created by a licensed attorney in Colombia through which your assets are placed into a trust for your benefit during your lifetime, and then transferred to designated beneficiaries at your death or if you become incapacitated. An administrator (trustee) may take control of the assets upon your death, or the beneficiary may also directly receive assets upon death. When children are involved its best to have an administrator oversee the trust for a set period. Once the Living Trust is signed, you transfer ownership of your assets into the trust and you remain in complete control of your property. The trust property can be managed and distributed without going through the probate court.

What is a living trust and how is it different from a last will and testament?
1. Avoid Probate, and Inheritance Taxes - It's a smart way to avoid probate. Keep more money in the family by avoiding potentially lengthy and expensive court proceedings. A will and testament in Colombia is important to keep your wishes clear to cover any items which are not in a trust, such as miscellaneous personal items.

2. Estate Planning - A plan for your family’s future - You set conditions now on how property or money maybe used if something happens to you. Excellent to force financial management of assets for the family if you die, become incapacitated or unable to sign documents. Minors futures are protected. A popular condition for  a trust is to block property sales until a child finishes high school or college. Trusts may also be setup to protect mentally dependent adults. The bottom line is that your family is protected from lengthy and costly processes.

3. Protects Family Assets - Your affairs get handled if you're incapacitated. Avoid going to court by appointing a trustee to take charge of your finances according to your instructions. While you are a live and mentally Capable you maintain complete control of the trust.

Can I transfer property into and out of the trust while I'm alive? Yes. If you have an individual trust, you can transfer property whenever you want. If you have a shared trust, you'll need your co-trustee's consent if you own the property together.

Do I still need a will in Colombia if I have a living trust? Yes, because you may not have transferred your property into your trust before you pass away. It transfers property still in your name alone when you pass away to the trust to be distributed to your beneficiaries. It also lets you name guardians for your minor children. Click here for more information on a will in Colombia.

Aren't living trusts just for the wealthy? Not at all. People of all income levels can set one up to manage their finances in case they become disabled, or to provide for loved ones without going through probate court, which may be required of relatively modest estates.

Keywords for a Living Trust in Colombia:
Living trust is = Fidicomiso Civil or “entre vivos” in Spanish
Traspaso de bienes entre vivos = Transfer of assets between live persons

Time to implement Living Trust:
3 Days to 1 week to prepare and register the living trust.
* Property Title Registration which are moved to the trust usually take about 3 weeks.

Legal Fees:
From $1,500,000 Pesos & Up (500 USD)

Notary Fees:
From $250,000 Pesos & Up (85 USD)

Let us know what you would like in your trust and we can give you an exact quote.

Estate planning in Colombia: A LIVING TRUST is a vital part to legal estate planning which can be complemented by tax planning, a will, and a special power of attorneys for items such as financial, medical, travel, an real estate transactions.

With an estate planning consultation we will help you answer and analyze your concerns so we can prepare the best plan for your specific needs. At COLOMBIA LEGAL & ACCOUNTING we have the expertise to put together the most beneficial estate plan, based upon your desires and expectations. Contact us to today to take the next step toward securing your family’s future.


How to buy Real Estate in Colombia

How to buy real estate in Colombia

Real Estate Legal Services and Property Buying Tips by Colombia Legal & Accounting SAS

When thinking about how to buy property in Colombia  consider the following tips outlined in this article.  Our experienced real estate attorneys help individuals, families and businesses with all real estate sale, purchase and rental issues. In Colombia it is important for Buyers and Sellers to use licensed attorneys to perform the following tasks:

First and Foremost, Use of an INDEPENDENT LAWFIRM OR ATTORNEY is EXTREMELY IMPORTANTDO NOT USE IN HOUSE ATTORNEYS FROM REAL ESTATE AGENCIES! For obvious reasons, your realtor and their preferred attorney have conflicts of interest. A realtor does not get a commission if a deal does not happen. A preffered attorney for a realtor will not get future business if they do not collaborate with the realtor on problems. Your attorney will look out for your needs but must be independent with no conflicts of interest! Realtors will try to influence deals and push them through, hiding problems, and creating future issues which are passed on to YOU the new buyer. 

  The Colombian Foreign Investment Regulations - The first purchase in Colombia as a foreigner should always be done with someone who understands how to manage the handful of agencies involved in the transaction. If not you can end up with huge problems on your title, visa, and fines for tax evasion or money laundering. Most attorneys and realtors are not familiar with the big picture when it comes to Foreign investments. Correct planning must take place before you even send money to Colombia for purchasing real estate! This process is referred to as legalization of a direct foreign investment, but following traditional old fashioned realtors will get you in trouble as they usually are trying to avoid taxes at property closings. The government audits ALL foreign investments but most local transactions between Colombians are not audited, so Colombian custom is to claim 50-70% lower closing costs (final sale price). If you do this with a direct foreign investment the government will visit you in the future, and it will not be pleasant.

Review residential and commercial real estate contractual transactions for lots, commercial projects, pre-construction, and existing structures.

Negotiate the terms of real estate purchase contract, rental contracts, trasnsfer of rental contracts, loan pay-payoffs, property taxes, repairs, posessions, evictions and more depending on the particular case.

Draft and review contract(s) to purchase or sell property in Colombia, (compraventa/promesa de compraventa)

Review related documents, for example, property title history, clinton list and criminal history  (criminal history and money laundering database check of past owners), rental contracts, grounds keeper labor contracts, Home Owner’s Association rules, financial reports for building administration.

Consider the use of an escrow account in Colombia for large real estate transactions.

Capital investments for commercial real estate developments or projects. Our real estate attorneys can assist in capital or lot for apartment deals.

Our attorneys also assist property owners with more complicated matters such as:

  • Addressing zoning problems
  • Property tax appeals
  • Zoning Permissions, Residential or Commercial Use for Apartments, & Building Administration Rules (VERIFY AIR B&B Daily Rental Permissions Before you Buy!!!)
  • Creation of property management corporations

Owners and renters alike should work with a local law firm to draft and/or review residential and commercial lease agreements. At COLOMBIA LEGAL & ACOUNTING S.A.S we can guide you through how to buy real estate in Colombia. We assist in rental and loan contracts as well.

While general real estate concepts are similar to those in many other countries, including the U.S., there are some very important differences in Colombian law. As a result, it is critical that you retain an experienced lawyer who knows the law, and the process on how to rent, purchase or sell real estate in Colombia, and who can explain these differences and how they may affect you.

escrow and title service for Colombian real estate

The basic steps on How to buy Real Estate in Colombia are:

1. Open a personal Financial Account in Colombia - we can recommend the best places to establish your account and make the introductions for you.

2. Negotiate the property price and determine who will pay which closing costs and how taxes will be addressed - we suggest using a reputable Real Estate professional, such as Paradise Realty, to        negotiate on your behalf in order to ensure the best price if you are dealing with a Colombian resident. Check out property for sale in Colombia here, and venta apartamentos en medellin.

3. Contract one of our real estate attorneys for title and property closing services - We will walk you through every step and ensure that you understand exactly what you are buying and how much you are paying.

4. Have the real estate attorney draft a purchase contract before you make a down payment to hold property.

5. Attend Property Closing & Make Final Payment - this will occur at a Notary’s Office.

6. Registration of Deed with the Proper Authorities.

how to buy real estate in colombia

The purchase of real estate in Colombia may qualify you for a Colombian Residency Visa under certain circumstances. We can explain the current requirements and assist with these additional steps if you are interested in obtaining a Colombian Residency Visa:

As part of purchasing a property with money from another country its very important to have a plan on how to legalize your foreign investment. James Lindzey overseas all foreign investment registrations with the help of our licensed Colombian attorneys, and Colombian accountants. Last but not least this step is very important if you want to comply with Colombian investor visa requirements. The basic outline for legalizing foreign investments are the following.

1. Registration of your Foreign Investment with the Colombian Federal Government at the time of the wire transfer-

2. Confirmation and certification of your Foreign Investment from the Government immediately following the registration of the wire transfer.

3. Processing the necessary immigration application documents to obtain a Visa with the ministry of foreign relations in Colombia.

Click on the “Immigration Law” tab for additional information about this process.

If you are purchasing real estate in Colombia, it is important that you understand exactly what services an attorney should provide at and before the property closing. Property closing services should include:

1. Title Investigation by an Attorney - the attorney should investigate the property deed, title history, determine who actually owns the property, whether any liens appear on the title, etc.

2. Drafting of the sales contract for the purchase of property (promesa de compraventa) - must include all details you desire, including any requested repairs, furniture, appliances, etc


Other professional services which we recommend before buying a property in Colombia include:

Obtaining a property survey from a civil engineer

Obtaining a property inspection performed by a civil engineer

Requesting an investigation of the property administration association.
Specifically reviewing proof of the administration’s:


Property bi-laws

Residential & commercial zoning laws

Insurance coverage

 Verification Property is not on Government Clinton List

 Commercial Escrows &  Construction Trusts

 Living Trusts to Protect your Property and Families Future (click Here)

More foreigners living in Colombia choose COLOMBIA LEGAL & ACCOUNTING S.A.S as their law firm to assist in purchasing a property in Colombia for personal and commercial reasons. Also, we are among the most experienced firms when it comes to negotiating property rental contracts, both commercial and residential.

We strongly suggest that you discuss all of the information you receive with your attorney BEFORE signing a contract to purchase real estate in Colombia. At COLOMBIA LEGAL & ACCOUNTING S.A.S we will complete the due diligence necessary to ensure that your real estate transaction goes smoothly, and all of your questions are answered. Finally, we will educate you on the entire process of  how to buy real estate in Colombia, with complete transparency at the highest level.

CLICK HERE to ask any questions or make an appointment to speak directly with one of our real estate professionals today.

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