Innovative Trust Structures

Wyoming has adopted the standard features of modern trust law, as well as a number of innovative tools that maximize the efficiency and flexibility of using trusts to manage wealth. These are set forth in a version of the Uniform Trust Code that has been enhanced by Wyoming’s state legislature to provide a full suite of modern trust tools, including:

  • Near Perpetual Trusts: Wyoming trusts can hold non-real property for up to 1,000 years. W.S. § 34-1-139. The real property limitation can be overcome in a number of ways, including by holding such assets in a limited liability company, the membership interests of which can then be held as personal property by a 1,000-year trust.

  • Flexible Reformation and Modification: W.S. §§ 4-10-411 to -413, -415 to -417.

  • Trust Combination and Division: W.S. § 4-10-418.

  • Decanting: Trustee with discretion to distribute principal or income (including subject to a standard) may decant in further trust. W.S. § 4-10-816(a)(xxviii), (b).

o   In addition, Wyoming district courts have frequently recognized the common law power of a trustee to decant (useful for decanting in a manner that preserves a trust’s exemption from Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) tax).

  • Uniform Trust Code Trustee Powers and Duties: W.S. §§ 4-10-801 to -817.

  • Nonjudicial Settlement Agreements: W.S. § 4-10-111.

  • Directed Trusts: W.S. § 4-10-718.

  • Trust Protectors and Advisors (both fiduciary and non-fiduciary): W.S. §§ 4-10-710 to -717.

  • Noncharitable Purpose Trusts with no ascertainable beneficiaries: W.S. § 4-10-410.

  • Prudent Investor Standard: W.S. §§ 4-10-901 to -913.

  • Virtual Representation: W.S. §§ 4-10-301 to -305.

  • Flexible Trust Migration and Change of Governing Law Rules: W.S. § 4-10-107, -108.

Wyoming is one of the few states that authorizes unregulated private trust companies that serve members of a single family. Such companies may seek a form of chartering, which may be desirable in some cases as an alternative to registration with and regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission as an investment adviser. W.S. §§ 13-5-201 to -219.