What is a Dynasty Trust and How Does it Work? A Complete Guide

A dynasty trust may be the answer you’ve been seeking for if you’ve been wondering how to pass on your fortune to future generations and not simply your own offspring. Our family dynasty trust guide will answer all of your burning questions concerning the trust’s ins and outs. Let’s dig in to identify what is a dynasty trust to have a better understanding about the concept.

What is a Dynasty Trust?

So, what is a Dynasty Trust? To ensure that your money is passed from generation to generation in the most tax-advantaged manner possible, a dynasty trust or perpetual trust is used. As long as the assets stay in the trust, families may avoid paying gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer taxes.

There is a significant difference in time between a dynasty trust & a conventional trust. It is possible to transfer riches via a dynasty trust for an indefinite period of time.

Advantages of a Dynasty Trust

An inheritance trust has a number of advantages.

Asset Management

For the benefit of the grantor’s descendants, a dynasty trust appoints a trustee to oversee trust assets. A dynasty trust trustee is bound by the provisions set out by the trust’s grantor. For a grantor with small children or grandkids, this is a highly effective asset preservation approach. This duty might be performed by a public or private trust firm.

Financial Support for Subsequent Generations

As there is no expiration date for a dynasty trust, a grantor may bequeath financial assets to beneficiaries for many generations. A typical distribution covers the designated recipients’ support, healthcare, and educational needs.

Protects Assets

Creating a dynasty trust is a great way to shield your assets from both your own creditors and those of your heirs. A dynasty trust, in addition to protecting you against creditors like banks and credit card companies, safeguards your assets in the event of a lawsuit. A medical malpractice lawsuit and divorce settlement are also covered by this policy.

No Double Taxation

Even though death and taxes are inescapable, you may reduce your state and federal tax burdens by setting up a dynasty trust. Establishing a dynasty trust in a tax-friendly jurisdiction reduces state estate taxes and may be utilized to reduce federal estate taxes.

Disadvantages of a Dynasty Trust

Many financial advantages may be gained by establishing a dynasty There are, however, a few negatives to take into account.

Prolonged Fiduciary Responsibilities

A dynasty trust has the potential to outlast both the original trustee and all of the beneficiaries. A professional fiduciary, such as your bank’s trust department, might be a solution to this difficulty. There is a considerable probability that your bank will outlast both your trustee and your beneficiaries, even if that is not guaranteed.

Inflexible Arrangement

As situations change, the terms of a trust may be easily adjusted. Adapting to one or more future unknown occurrences isn’t an option with a dynasty trust since it is permanent in nature. This means that your financial goals may not be met in the way you had hoped.

Our recommendation is to create basic concepts, but not to be unduly rigorous about them. It’s referred to as “governing from the dead” when someone is too strict. For example, the internet revolution would have been missed by a trust created in the 1980s that only specified particular businesses that might be invested in. As a result, guiding concepts rather than rigorous restrictions are preferable.

The process of creating any kind of trust, including a dynasty trust, involves much forethought. Consultation with a family law professional may assist you in determining whether or not a dynasty trust is appropriate for your situation. This kind of trust is best set up with the help of an attorney, who will establish the legal wording that serves as its basis.

New Laws That Encourage and Allow Dynasty Trusts

The “law against perpetuities,” an ancient legal concept, was invoked to prevent trusts that may theoretically continue indefinitely. Even with this regulation in place, trusts have the potential to survive for decades. The regulation specified that a trust couldn’t endure longer than twenty-one years after the death of a possible beneficiary who was alive at the time the trust was founded. The regulation has been simplified in certain places (such as California), allowing trust to endure for up to 90 years.

The ban prohibiting perpetuities has been abolished in half of the states, making dynasty trusts possible. To entice people to set up trusts, states like Delaware and Florida provide tax incentives and flexibility as well as robust protections in the event that beneficiaries get divorced or fall into debt. The substantial fees that financial institutions in these jurisdictions charge to handle dynasty trust assets are a significant source of income for them.

Dynasty Trust: How Does it Work?

When it was first enacted, the Rule Against Perpetuities granted trusts an expiration date. When a trustor died, it was normal procedure for trusts to be terminated 21 years later. Many states have either increased or abolished the time limit throughout the years. All of these nations now allow the creation of dynasty trusts.

That’s why dynasty trusts are called “irrevocable,” since they cannot be modified or canceled. It doesn’t matter how stringent or loose you choose to make the trust’s restrictions; as the grantor, you have complete control over them.

The trust’s terms can no longer be amended once you’ve financed it. Beneficiaries of the trust are unable to alter the provisions of the agreement, therefore careful planning is required when creating a dynasty trust.

A beneficiary might function as their own trustee if your generational wealth planning is sloppy. A bank or other financial organization, on the other hand, is frequently named as the trustee by most trustors. The trustee is in charge of overseeing and disbursing the trust’s assets in accordance with the conditions set out. Inheritance continues indefinitely when a beneficiary’s last surviving kid goes away.

How Trusts Avoid Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax and Estate Tax

When it comes to saving your descendants money in estate taxes, the dynasty trust is the best option. The federal gift/estate tax is only levied once on the assets you transfer to the trust (as well as any rise in their value over time). Despite the fact that they benefit successive generations, they are exempt from further taxation.

In contrast, if you give your children a huge sum of money without a trust, it will be taxed. In addition, their children’s inheritances would be taxed again. The federal generation-skipping transfer tax may apply if you try to avoid one of such “tax events” by passing assets straight to your grandchildren. Remember that the federal estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes only apply to estates valued more than USD 12.06 million dollars.)

For example, suppose you and your spouse give your daughter $10 million in your will. After 30 years, her estate would be worth $30 million and would be liable to estate tax upon her death, costing more than $7 million in estate taxes if current  exemptions and federal estate tax rates were in place at the time of her death. If the money were in a dynasty trust that was well-drafted, it would not be due; instead, it would remain in the trust and continue to increase via investment.

Taxation of Trust Income

Income from trust assets is still subject to taxation. In light of this, most individuals choose dynasty trusts to place non-income-producing assets—assets like growth stocks that do not pay dividends, or municipal bonds that are tax-free. Life insurance policies may also be transferred to a dynasty trust, which is frequent. Upon the death of the policyholder, the insurance profits may be used to pay the estate tax that is owing on the estate’s other assets.

Lack of Flexibility

A dynasty trust is mostly in your hands; your heirs have little say in it. This has both positive and negative aspects. You have complete control over the beneficiaries and what rights they have. Children are often the first beneficiaries; after they die, their grandchildren are the next ones to get money.

When you establish a trust, you choose a trustee—typically a trust company or a bank—to administer the funds and allocate them to the beneficiaries’ specific requirements. You may be as specific or as general as you want with these guidelines. It’s also possible to offer the beneficiaries the ability to give away part of the trust assets or to leave them to others when they die.

Because dynasty trusts are irreversible, you and your heirs cannot amend the provisions of the trust in the event of a change in your family’s financial situation or your wishes. What you’re doing is speculating on what your distant ancestors will like in the future.

Difference Between Dynasty Trust and Legacy Trust

The terms “legacy trust” and “dynasty trust” are interchangeable. These two concepts express the goal of transferring your money or legacy from one generation to the next.

A country’s rulers might be said to have a “dynasty” if they have a lengthy lineage. This explains the idea of transferring the torch from generation to generation without a slack. It is common for traditional trusts to have one or more beneficiaries, and then the trust is over. As the generations progress, additional beneficiaries are added to a dynasty trust.

Dynasty Trusts: A Bad Public Policy?

Because the United States is a nation that values social and economic mobility, the rule against perpetuities was predicated on the belief that rewarding techniques that perpetuate wealth in families is detrimental to society. What’s the point of giving tax incentives to dynasty trusts if they allow the heirs of affluent families to hide their assets from taxes and creditors?

In any case, many individuals don’t want to have any say in what happens long after they’ve passed away. When it comes to genetics and family history, you won’t have much in common with your distant relatives. Larry Waggoner, a law professor, says that the typical individual may expect to have 450 descendants in 150 years. A descendant six generations back have just 1.6% of your DNA, despite the fact that your children and grandchildren share a portion of it.

What to Do if I am Not Getting Dynasty Trust Distributions?

Your dynasty trust payouts are determined by the terms of the trust in which they are held. A dynasty trust beneficiary may be entitled to money under the provisions of the trust if they are a direct beneficiary of the trust. As a result, the trustee is obligated to return your funds to you. Although trustees have varying degrees of discretion, their power is typically constrained.

Because of their fiduciary obligations, beneficiaries who do not get what they are due may initiate legal action against trustees in order to reclaim what they are owed as well as having trustees dismissed or surcharged for breaking their duties.

What is the Cost of Setting Up a Dynasty Trust?

The cost of setting up a dynasty trust will depend on your individual situation. Setting up a dynasty trust might cost anywhere from $3,500 to $30,000. This is according to Affordable Life USA. Estate planning attorney expenses, trust terms’ intricacy, and the amount of your estate are all contributing issues.

Online estate planning services, on the other hand, are far more cost-effective. Starting at $599, you may set up a trust at Trust & Will.

Is it a Good Idea to Have a Dynasty Trust?

This kind of trust is ideal for families looking to pass on their fortune to future generations. It is possible to transfer money without having to worry about estate-planning taxes by using a dynasty trust. Dynasty trusts cannot be revoked. This implies that you won’t be able to change the trust’s terms after you’ve established it. In this case, dynasty trusts may not be the best option for your family’s long-term financial goals.

Contact a dynasty trust lawyer

Anyone who believes they have been wrongly excluded from the benefits of a trust or wants to establish their own trust should speak with an attorney who specializes in this kind of trust right away. Rather than attempting to handle a difficult matter like this on your own, you should seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney who is familiar with dynasty trusts and trust tax regulations.


If you’ve got a lot of money that you’d want to leave to your children and their children’s descendants and so on, a dynasty trust might be a terrific option. The purpose of dynasty trusts is to provide long-term wealth planning for future generations.

Your state of residence should also be taken into consideration, as we’ll show later. The Rule Against Perpetuities, which prohibits dynasty trusts in several jurisdictions, may preclude you from setting up such a trust.

Prior to the elimination of the Rule Against Perpetuities, trusts may only endure for 21 years following the death of its last beneficiary before being terminated. However, a few governments have completely abolished this provision.

There are a few exceptions, such as in Nevada, where the trust may exist for up to 365 years and in California, where the trust can extend for 90 years. Depending upon the state, the length of time is different.

Here it is: if you’ve been waiting impatiently to see whether your state enables dynasty trusts, your wait is over.

21 states have removed the Rule Against Perpetuities and now enable dynasty trusts, as shown in the table below.

  • Wisconsin
  • Virginia
  • South Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • North Carolina
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • Nebraska
  • Missouri
  • Michigan
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Kentucky
  • Illinois
  • Idaho
  • Hawaii
  • District of Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Alaska


By now you might be having a clear idea about what is a dynasty trust. It conjures up images of a long-lasting royal lineage when the term “dynasty” is used. Whether or not they are royalty, every family should be able to carry on the values they have worked so hard to develop to future generations. Dynasty trusts may be an option for those who reside in one of the twenty-one states that have abolished the Rule Against Perpetuities. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to seek the advice of an estate planning professional. The Law Advisory is here to assist you in sorting through the many options available to you when it comes to estate planning.

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