Senate approves changing some laws governing trusts in South Dakota

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Trust legislation in South Dakota traditionally has been so complex that few lawmakers have tried to explain it or raise questions.

That was the case again Thursday, as the state Senate voted 27-3.

The 16 pages of SB 65 in its amended version now go to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Senator Jeff Partridge, a Rapid City Republican, said trusts based in South Dakota pay their own way for state regulation.

Senator Susan Wismer, a Britton Democrat, put on other senators’ desks copies of an article criticizing the trust industry. She openly challenged a lawyer representing trust companies at a committee hearing a few years ago.

Senator Lee Schoenbeck, a Watertown Republican, said the article was from a British publication that is owned by a trust. He said the Helmsley charitable trust based in South Dakota provides many donations to organizations in South Dakota.

“It is a clean, good industry for our state,” Schoenbeck said.

Here are some examples from changes proposed in this year’s bill:

From section 1 — “An enforcer may demand reasonable information related to the administration of the trust from the trustee, including a periodic accounting.”

From section 12 — “The terms of an irrevocable trust or written directions provided pursuant to this section may expand, restrict, eliminate, or otherwise vary the right of a beneficiary to be informed of the beneficiary’s interest in a trust for a period of time, including:

“(1) A period of time related to the age of a beneficiary;

“(2) A period of time related to the lifetime of either a settlor or spouse of a settlor, or both;

“(3) A period of time related to a term of years or specific date; and

“(4) A period of time related to a specific event that is certain to occur.”

Also from section 12 — “If trust information is sought through service of a subpoena on a fiduciary, the fiduciary may petition the court for an order that makes disclosure of trust information contingent upon the receiving party being bound by reasonable conditions to ensure the protection of confidentiality of trust information by the receiving party.”

From section 13 — “A former trustee is entitled to the 18 repayment, out of trust property, of all expenses actually and properly incurred by the 19 former trustee in the defense of proceedings relating to the performance of the trustee’s 20 duties to the same extent as the current trustee is entitled to repayment.”

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