Trust

Question:
Arlecchino is a quasi-retired Italian businessman aged 77. He has a big house with extensive grounds in Sicily, another house in Rome, one apartment in London and another in Paris, and an art collection which is distributed between the four properties, He owns a football team, and also has a varied portfolio of shares in many companies, including controlling interests in many businesses, both in Italy and elsewhere. He has been married three times (and divorced twice), and has seven children, ranging in age from 53 down to 15. His 53 year old son runs some of the businesses, though not very well. His second child is a very successful lawyer. His third and fourth children are housewives, married to moderately successful men, but who rely on Arlecchino to finance a lifestyle at a higher level than they could themselves afford. His fifth child is a professional dancer, unmarried and now aged 31, whose career will not last more than about five years more. His sixth and seventh children are still at school, but show some promise. He is separated from his third wife, and lives with his showgirl girlfriend, Diamond, who is 22. He is concerned that she is tiring of him, and may leave him for a younger man. His mother is still alive, aged 95, and he provides a flat and staff for her. Arlecchino wishes to plan for the future, securing the succession to his businesses, some (but not unlimited) help for his housewife daughters, a home for his younger children, a future for the dancer, and a home for his mother (if she survives him) and for Diamond (but only if they are still together when he dies). He does not see any need at present to help his lawyer child, but wonders whether there is some way to provide help in an emergency. He is not afraid to ignore the rules of compulsory shares on inheritance if they get in his way. He has heard about trusts, but is suspicious of them. He would prefer if possible to plan using civil law devices, but will listen to argument. Advise him on general comparative techniques, without descending into detail, and ignoring tax considerations.