Delaware Statutory Trust: Understanding the Basics

Posted by Josh Twilley
September 21, 2016

Delaware is long known to be a leader in corporate law, but Delaware is also a trailblazer in trust law.  In 1988, Delaware was the first state to adopt a legal framework governing trust law, with the passage of the Delaware Business Trust Act, which governs the Delaware Statutory Trust.  While other states have adopted similar legislation, the Delaware version has evolved over the years.  Today, the DST is considered the preferred vehicle for trust activities that involve financial transactions.

What is a Delaware Statutory Trust?

In an ordinary trust relationship, a fiduciary would hold legal title on a property on behalf of another, who held the equity title.  These trusts are governed by a Common Law framework.  The Delaware Business Trust Law allows for the creation of a Delaware Statutory Trust.  The Delaware Statutory Trust is considered a separate entity which can in many ways behave like a corporate entity, with a body of trustees and a group of beneficial owners.


Delaware shutterstock 102603476


What makes a Delaware Statutory Trust a preferred vehicle?

This structure offers a number of advantages.  The trust can have multiple trustees and beneficial owners, who receive the same liability protection afforded to stockholders of a Delaware corporation.  As an independent entity, the Delaware Statutory Trust can enter into contracts while still protecting beneficial owners, and even provides beneficial owners protection in the event of bankruptcy.  Finally, the Delaware Court of Chancery, widely considered one of the best corporate and trust courts in the world, has jurisdiction over the Delaware Statutory Trust.

How is a Delaware Statutory Trust formed and maintained?

Forming a Delaware Statutory Trust is an easy process, requiring a certificate of trust to be filed with the Delaware Secretary of State, along with the Trust Agreement.  There are no annual maintenance requirements (franchise tax or annual report) for a Delaware Statutory Trust.  A Delaware resident must be named as a trustee.

Incserv can assist in all aspects of filing the Delaware Statutory Trust and can provide a Delaware resident as a trustee.  Contact us for more information.

The information within this post is intended for general information purposes only. Incserv and its employees cannot offer legal or financial advice. Please consult with your legal counsel for assistance in how this information may or may not affect you and your business prior to making any decisions. The above information (and any attachments) should be judged accordingly.