Trust and Estate Counsel

Tennessee Estate Planning Law

Insight and commentary on estate planning issues impacting affluent residents of Tennessee

Tennessee Dynasty Trusts

The term “dynasty trust” refers to a trust that will last for several generations. Since 2007, Tennesseans have been able to establish dynasty trusts that can last for 360 years. Prior to 2007, trusts had to terminate after approximately 100 years.

In order to qualify for the longer duration, the trust must provide a testamentary limited power of appointment to at least one member of each generation of your descendants who dies more than 90 years after the trust is established. A testamentary limited power of appointment provides the beneficiary with the right, through a provision in his or her Will, to terminate the trust in favor of certain beneficiaries or charities or to keep the property in trust with different provisions. Tennessee’s law is unique in requiring this power of appointment in order to qualify for the longer term.

The required power of appointment will be eliminated for trusts established on or after July 1, 2010. Even though the power of appointment will no longer be required, I still recommend that you provide future generations with the ability to modify the trust.  Imagine that your great great grandparents had established a trust in 1910 which now benefits you. Could they have possibly anticipated all of the changes that have occurred over the past 100 years and determined a sensible trust design for your descendants? It is much more likely that you can design a better trust to accommodate the specific attributes of your children and grandchildren and numerous changes that have occurred in the world over the last century.

If 360 years is not long enough for you, there are several states that allow trusts to last into perpetuity. Even if you live in Tennessee, you can take advantage of the laws in one of these other states. To date, only one of my clients has not been satisfied with 360 years.