Wyoming Corporate Trustee Services
Willow Street provides corporate trustee services — directed, delegated, and discretionary — to clients seeking a responsive, relationship-focused fiduciary for Wyoming entities. We provide these services through Willow Street Trust Company of Wyoming, LLC (WSTC), a publicly chartered trust company overseen by the Wyoming Division of Banking.
The trustee of a trust is a fiduciary responsible for decisions regarding the investment of trust assets, distributions to beneficiaries, and administrative duties such as records retention, tax compliance, and beneficiary reporting.
Under Wyoming law, a trust may “unbundle” trustee services and allow each function — investing, distributing, and administering — to be performed by a different individual or entity. This unbundled structure is known as a directed trust. A directed trust may provide for a Trust Advisor or Investment Committee to manage trust assets and investments, a Distribution Advisor or Committee to review and authorize distributions from the trust, and an Administrative trustee to provide administrative and compliance services in the chosen jurisdiction. The Administrative trustee may only make investments or distributions at the direction of the relevant advisor or committee.
The directed trust model works well for families that desire a corporate trustee for administrative and situs purposes but want to engage family members and existing advisory relationships in investment or distribution activities. It is also effective for families that own complex assets, such as operating businesses, real estate, or concentrated equity positions.
Benefits of a directed trust include:
- Enhanced Control: The directed trust allows a family member or trusted advisor, subject to tax considerations, to make investment or distribution decisions. The settlor or beneficiaries may be able to participate in subsequent removal and appointment of Investment or Distribution Advisors.
- Wyoming Situs: The directed trust allows for administration and, if requested, distribution decisions to occur within Wyoming while retaining existing investment advisory relationships.
- Flexibility: The directed trust provides increased flexibility as to asset management, distribution decisions, and efficient decision-making.
- Cost Efficiency: The directed trust may provide substantial cost savings over traditional corporate trustee relationships.
Willow Street works closely with families and their advisory teams to implement and administer trust structures in a manner consistent with the strategic and financial goals of our clients. Through WSTC, we serve as administrative trustee for clients seeking to situs entities and assets in Wyoming, providing record management and retention, cash management, bookkeeping / billpay, compliance, tax reporting and payment coordination, and document execution and signature authority services. We may also hold discretion as to distributions upon request, either individually or as part of a Distribution Committee.
Delegated and Discretionary Trustee
In contrast to a directed trusteeship, one corporate trustee may retain responsibility for all three trustee functions: investments, distributions, and administration. As trustee, WSTC retains fiduciary discretion as to all trust activities. In other words — and in contrast to a directed trust — we effectively serve as Administrative trustee, Distribution trustee, and Investment trustee.
Because Willow Street is not a registered investment advisor, we do not provide investment advice or investment services. For this reason, if a directed trust structure is not desirable, we may serve as delegated trustee. In such instances, we will select and then delegate investment management to a third-party registered investment advisor. We will typically consult with the family and beneficiaries prior to selecting the investment advisor. In addition, we retain accountability for establishing the scope and terms of the delegation — consistent with the purposes and terms of the trust — as well as periodically reviewing the investment advisor’s performance and compliance with the terms of the delegation.
For certain asset classes, Willow Street may serve as discretionary trustee, which means that we retain discretion as to investment activity. We evaluate discretionary trustee engagements on a case-by-case basis to understand the scope of work and our obligations, and to confirm that we have the authority, capability, and capacity to exercise discretion over trust assets.
Please contact us for more information.