Directed Trusts : The Ins and Outs

Directed trusts separates who manages the trust assets and who administers the trust assets.  This rule gives everyone loads of flexibility for anyone using a trust under South Dakota trust laws.  It allows a person to place her property—both investment and business assets—in trust for heirs as income producing property. This process involves directing the control of the management of trust assets to third party such as a financial advisor, family member or family office but not the corporate trustee. A South Dakota Directed Trust is unique because it allows a ‘donor’ (trust geek speak – grantor) to use a decide who will manage, preserve, enhance, and accrue value for all sorts of property placed in a trust.  These assets can include more than stocks, bonds, mutual funds—ranches, mom and pop shops, apartment complexes, valuable artwork, or even jewelry.

South Dakota’s Directed Trust laws allow grantors to split-up the fiduciary responsibilities and duties that normally tag along with financial investments.  A complex situation traditional and unique assets would have a financial advisor managing/overseeing the marketable securities and a hospitality specialist to manage the day-to-day operations of your fast food franchises.  The corporate trustee would only focus on the trust accounting and administration. This also typically results in lower fees because the primary wealth advisor and all parties involved are responsible for fewer burdens.


Creating Your Dynasty: Understanding South Dakota’s Dynasty Trusts

South Dakota’s dynastic trust laws allow every family to potentially become wealthy among the leagues of the ultra-rich. Why limit yourself to keeping up with the Jones when you can be the Jones? The attractive benefits of South Dakota dynastic trusts include the strength of preserving wealth for future generations, protecting those assets as they descend through the generations, and most importantly, the immense income tax savings.

The repeal of South Dakota’s Rule Against Perpetuities allowed for the creation of dynastic trusts. This allows for the money to largely avoid heavy tax burdens and be shielded away from creditors forever. When thinking about creating a South Dakota Dynastic Trust remember WAS: Preserving Your Wealth, Protecting Your Assets, and Potential Tax Savings. Your money WAS, is, and forever will be protected by South Dakota’s trust friendly laws. (more…)

South Dakota Trust Law Benefits: 5 Reasons They Make Sense For You

A marker of wealth is often the reluctance to talk about it. Don’t talk about it, be about it. South Dakota trust benefits allow for exactly that. South Dakota’s lawmakers were wise beyond their years when they passed attractive trust laws. These laws have placed South Dakota’s trust benefits among the top in the country.  Flexible with time, the laws have evolved with the needs of estate attorneys and their clients.  Other states such as Tennessee, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Delaware also provide trust benefits.  But none of them can touch South Dakota.

South Dakota’s trust benefits range from (1) no state income tax, (2) dynastic trusts, (3) asset protection, (4) directed trusts, and (5) some of the leading privacy rules in the nation. These laws run the gamut of financial protection and service and in this South Dakota Trust Laws series, we explore them. 


South Dakota trust law: Rated Top Location

South Dakota trust law focus on innovation and leadership continues yet again.  Annually, Trusts  & Estate Magazine reviewed trust jurisdictions around the country.  Furthermore, their objective measurements reviewed the following factors: (1) Rule Against Perpetuities; (2) “21st Century” trust laws enacted such as decanting, directed trust, and privacy; and (3) Asset Protection levels; (4) No State income and inheritance taxes; and (5) Legal rights of a beneficiaries interest in a trust. (more…)

Last Will & Testament

Last Will & Testament

A few days ago, I finished reviewing and approving my third Will & Testament.  I have revised my Will three times – at 25, 42 and 50.  Just part of the normal process we all need to go through.  We all have the same worries about taking care of our family.  Reviewing a Will also means reading related documents.  I have a few partnerships and trusts plus my medical and financial Power of Attorney forms.  Creating these documents occurred at different times.  Finally, all of these documents have to be in sync.  211 pages.  Ugh!  However, the review focus of a Will & Testament plus related documents hinges on more than tax and legal stuff.  We all need to consider our assets, philosophy of our money and our family.  Not easy.

As a co-founder of Wealth Advisors Trust Company, I hold myself accountable to the best estate planning practices.  We all learn by sharing processes, successes, and failures.



Testamentary Trust and Mistakes You Should Avoid

A testamentary trust is a legal trust that is created through precise instructions laid out in a deceased person’s Will. A testamentary trust is irrevocable and goes into effect at an individual’s death. In other words, when this individual dies they will no longer be able to change the terms of their Will. However, a testamentary trust is revocable during a person’s lifetime because it technically doesn’t actually exist yet.

A proper Will, and therefore a testamentary trust, is something that is seemingly under-utilized estate planning tool in America. According to a survey by Harris Poll (, about 2/3rds of Americans do not have a Will.

A Will may contain several testamentary trusts for various beneficiaries and may address all or any portion of the individual’s estate. For example, a testamentary trust can be created for the benefit of a spouse, for children, or for a disabled relative. A testamentary trust can be used to structure how the grantor wants his/her property distributed, just like a will but with these trusts, one can distribute the payments from the trust over a period of time rather than transferring the money in one lump payment. This is particularly useful when giving the property to minor children and beneficiaries with disabilities. These trusts, under certain circumstances, can provide tax advantages when setting up correctly.


How to Choose a Financial Planner

There are two types of people in the world financially — (1) Those that spend first and save last, and (2) those that save first and spend last; If you’re the type of person who falls into the latter group, then it may be time for you to choose a financial planner. (more…)

Knowing How To Use A Trust Creates Big Benefits

A strong advisor-client relationship is important to understanding how to use a trust and getting the most benefits out of the financial framework. Wealth Advisors Trust has lifted the fog on trust services secrets and is helping its clients understand how to use a trust.


Ease Family Worries: Preparing Your Trust Administration Handbook

Preparing a Trust Administration Handbook for guidance as to the efficient handling of tax issues and long-term goals of the grantor can be the difference between financial success or destitution.


Fees, Fees, and More Fees; What Do They Mean?

The old adage that the only two certain things in life are death and taxes still rings true in 2018. Nowadays it seems to be “death, taxes, and fees” because everywhere you turn consumers face fees. Often it is the same game when it comes to trust admiration. But Wealth Advisors Trust offers its services without the endless stream of fees while providing the same exceptional customer service and attention to detail.

They’re endless. Termination fees; wire transfer fees; bill pay fees; special asset service fees; hourly rates; copy charges; travel costs; and extra fees for returning a beneficiary’s phone call. Costs can add up quickly and sooner rather than later beneficiaries are left funding a mile long list of fees instead of enjoying the security provided by their trust. Finding solace within the protections of your trust is only made harder when facing fees. Attempting to avoid these fees by handling the trust administration yourself is unadvised and potentially dangerous to one’s financial security and opens you up to potential legal liabilities. 1

Wealth Advisors Trust has three categories of fees simplified for maximum customer satisfaction: Agency Trustee Fees, Corporate Trustee Fees, and Irrevocable Life Insurance Fees.


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