Wealth Advisors Trust Company Blog

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June 21, 2023

Podcast Appearance: Is Your Trustee Out of Touch?

Christopher Holtby recently spoke with Kevin Kaylakie of SineCera Capital on the Uncorrelated Minds podcast.

June 1, 2023

Podcast Appearance: The Wealth is in the Details

Christopher Holtby was featured on “The Wealth Is In The Details” podcast with Peter Raskin.

May 13, 2023

Understanding a Dynasty Trust under South Dakota trust law

A dynasty trust is a powerful estate planning tool that allows families to preserve and transfer wealth across multiple generations while minimizing taxes. South Dakota trust law has become a popular jurisdiction for establishing dynasty trusts due to...

April 8, 2023

(2023) Navigating the World of Advisor-Friendly Trust Companies: A Comprehensive Guide

We did it again. Being nominated as a top advisor-friendly trust company. Offering white glove trustee services to advisors with the lowest ratio of trust officer to trust account is just part of the reason why. 

Navigating the world of trust services...

March 19, 2023

Silent Trusts for Legacy Planning: Do's and Don'ts

Having money can offer flexibility and safeguards. The question to answer in this blog, for wealthy families, using silent trusts under South Dakota trust law is, when should children and/or grandchildren know about this inherited money? Partly today?...

March 6, 2023

Directed Trusts and Incapacity Planning

In light of Bruce Willis's highlight of dementia, it makes sense for wealthy families to understand how to use directed trusts in a simple way under the South Dakota trust law to plan for current or future incapacitation planning. This blog will answer...

September 16, 2022

How to pick the best trust company (2022)

This blog will help financial advisors and/or their clients decide what is the best trust company for their situation. And how to pick that type of trustee. 

August 22, 2022

Difficult clients - kids of great clients

It’s a challenge every financial advisor faces at one time or another.

Wonderful, wealthy couples who have been your most loyal clients pass away at a ripe old age. All the wealth they’ve accumulated is now transferred into a trust for the benefit of...

July 8, 2022

Trust law - Open Architecture for Financial Advisors

Every advisor knows having a choice, or an open architecture platform allows them to make wise client choices.

Normally financial advisors are focused on investment choices around open architecture platforms. 

But, it should also be linked to trust law...

May 31, 2022

Rethinking Growth Strategies for Financial Advisors

Let’s make this clear: The investment-only advisor is going the way of the dinosaur. The financial planning-centric financial advisor will be treated like a celebrity by their clients and by supporting vendors (e.g., friendly trustees). Allowing for a...

May 23, 2022

Treating financial advisors like celebrities

When it comes to describing trust administration, most people wouldn’t say what they do is “fun” or “disruptive.” But Wealth Advisors Trust Company does. And that’s a big reason why clients of this South Dakota-based company enjoy using their trustee...

May 15, 2022

Turning America's Economic Lemons into Lemonade

[Side note: Term paper submitted by Christopher Holtby for his Harvard 2022 Spring semester class.]

Introduction to America's economic lemons and lemonade

Unlike one's first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, America remains mute, unable to admit or even...

May 3, 2022

Keep It Personal - Old School Communication

You are a successful advisor. Like any superstar athlete practicing the fundamentals, this article adds a few extra tools to keep your winning. I have ADD, so each section lists the device in the first sentence.

April 17, 2022

Current and Future State of the US Economy

" But they nevertheless hate to miss a single minute of what is one helluva party. Therefore, the giddy participants all plan to leave just seconds before midnight. There's a problem, though: They are dancing in a room where the clocks have no hands."...

April 11, 2022

$50 million - Goldilocks net worth amount?

I have no dog in this hunt arguing whether $50 million is or is not the Goldilocks net worth amount for you.

What is the Goldilock’s net worth amount in America?

It’s partly the money. This essay argues two issues: (1) why the optimal net worth amount...

January 16, 2022

2021 Winner Most Pioneering Trust Administration Company Award

Making waves in the 700-year-old trustee industry since its founding, Wealth Advisors Trust Company (WATC) has proven that not abiding by the status quo can lead to a mountain of success. The New World Report 2021 Awards look at the results, and WATC...

December 2, 2021

Dallas-Fort Worth's Best Financial Planners (financial advisors) 2021

Everybody wants to know whom to choose for their financial planning needs. Finding a financial advisor best suited for your needs can be tricky. As a trust company created for wealth advisors, we celebrate success. 

March 20, 2021

Advisor Friendly Trust Company 2021

This post will cover the important of what an advisor-friendly trust company in 2021 means for financial advisors and their clients. The bottom line - the best trust companies treat financial advisors like celebrities

This post will include:

  • ...
February 26, 2021

Types of Charitable Trusts

UTC§ 405 (a) (2000) – “A charitable trust may be created for the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, the promotion of health, governmental or municipal purposes, or other purposes the achievement of which is beneficial to the...

February 11, 2021

Client Service - A Mindset Not a Cheap Tagline

We are not your grandparents trust company.

This blog will cover the history, evolution and simple approach about and on client service.  As an advisor friendly trust company, we view client service as an evolution through successes and failures.

February 6, 2021

Foreign Grantor Trusts Increase Reputational Risk for South Dakota trust law

This blog post outlines how foreign grantor trusts could increase the potential business and reputation risk for South Dakota trust law and trust companies. Potential clients should understand why and if they are comfortable accepting that potential risk.

January 28, 2021

Hybrid Domestic Asset Protect Trust (DAPT) - Escape Clause

This blog describes how a Hybrid Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT) works for grantors wanting an escape clause while taking advantage of their $11.7 million estate tax exemption (as of Jan 2021). This post will cover:

  • History on Estate Tax Exemption
January 11, 2021

What is a Fiduciary?

When individuals hear the word trustee, they often associate the word fiduciary along with it. However, most individuals do not understand what acting in a fiduciary capacity means. A fiduciary trustee is required to act in the highest statue of service,...

November 23, 2020

Private Trusts and Directed Trusts - South Dakota's hidden treasures

Most individuals want to maintain control even though they have placed assets in a trust. They are called a Private Trust. Making a trust private is one way to keep control; a directed trust is another.

November 13, 2020

The Power of the Marital Deduction

When a large amount of wealth is being transferred, it is essential to understand what taxes can occur. This blog will cover the importance of understanding the federal estate tax, the power of the marital deduction, and South Dakota's Special Spousal...

October 26, 2020

South Dakota trust law - 25 reasons ranked #1 [Checklist]

This blog post will provide 25 reasons why South Dakota trust law ranks #1 in America. A leader in anything creates a naturally occurring set of healthy and repeatable habits. Being in the mid-west, South Dakota prizes freedom and innovation. And here...

October 20, 2020

Are Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts taxable? [Guide]

Are Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts taxable - when and why? With a new presidential debate on the horizon, wealthy individuals are looking at every option available to shelter their assets.

October 16, 2020

Smarter faster financial advisor business plan - 5 tips [Checklist]

This blog post will provide five simple financial advisor business plan ideas to serve clients faster and smarter around non-core items. This post will cover:

October 9, 2020

How Financial Advisors avoid losing control to Estate Attorneys [Tips]

You are the financial thought leader and implementer for your clients. Working collaboratively with an estate trust attorney on your client estate legal issues can be daunting. Here are a few tips where you remain the financial thought leader when...

September 30, 2020

Estate Planning for Millennials [New Guide]

This blog post addresses two audiences on estate planning for millennials: (1) financial advisors; and (2) millennials themselves. The information came from an August 2020 presentation Wealth Advisors Trust Company gave uber-successful Millennials...

September 21, 2020

Purpose of an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts – Where, When,and How

The purpose of the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Creating an estate plan can be as easy as 1-2-3 or as complex as the science to send a man to the moon. 

August 21, 2020

Biden tax plan & estate / trust planning election 2020 [New Guide]

In this blog post you are going to learn ideas and suggestions to potentially limit the “hit” from Joe Biden’s tax plan. This post will include:

August 17, 2020

Changing a Life Insurance Trust

What is a Life insurance trust?

A Life insurance trust holds a life insurance policy. 

At the death of the creator, it will pay out a death benefit. In order to receive the death benefit, the owner of the policy must pay a premium. A life insurance...

May 18, 2020

What is a trust?

What is a trust? A trust is a legal entity to which an individual titles property and assets for the benefit of another. Every trust contains a grantor, family trustee, and beneficiary. There are many different types of trusts to choose from.

May 13, 2020

Washington vs South Dakota trust law

Perhaps you are a Washington resident and the thought of using an outside fiduciary is unappealing. Using an outside fiduciary can offer a risk, but also considerable benefits. Creating a trust is an important step in protecting assets and providing for...

February 26, 2020

America's Advisor Friendly Trust Companies for 2020

In this post you are going to learn the secret sauce to picking a trustee and learn of America's most advisor friendly trust companies for 2020. Botton line - the best trust companies treat financial advisors like celebrities

This post also includes...

January 9, 2020

Trust Protector vs. Trustee

Trust protectors are a result of evolving new developments in the trust industry. The role of a trust protector is still relatively new in modern day trusts. A big difference with a trust protector and a trustee is that a trust protectors’ role might not...

December 13, 2019

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust | What Does a Trustee Do?

Trustees have an array of responsibility when executing an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT). Knowing how to choose the right Trustee to manage the ILIT will save a lot of frustration,time, and money. In order to make that decision easier, this...

November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving can cause a Trust Agreement change

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year. It is a time for families to gather for a hefty meal and look back on all the things they have been thankful for. It is also a time that most estate planning attorneys say is a busy time of the year....

November 4, 2019

Is It Time To Fire Your Trustee? | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Do you need to fire a trustee? Trustees control everything. If you are the beneficiary of a trust it is important for you to have easy access to your funds. Unfortunately, some trustees make it difficult for beneficiaries to access their funds.

October 28, 2019

Easy Trustee Distributions | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

The right trust document, paired with an easygoing beneficiary, creates easy trustee distributions. A trustee has two main responsibilities when administering a trust. The first is investment management and the second is distributions.

October 21, 2019

Financial Advisor Risks with Delegated & Directed Trusts | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Any time someone takes on a fiduciary duty, there is risk involved.

Financial advisors’ risk will very. Trust assets offer an opportunity for advisors to further assist their clients. Often, advisors will be asked to manage trust assets of a client or...

October 15, 2019

Delegated vs Directed Trusts - Changing a Trustee

Delegated and Directed trust are the most common types of trusts. When deciding to make changes to a trust, for instance changing a trustee, depending on the type of trust this can sometimes be difficult. Understand that not all trust law is created...

October 4, 2019

Texas vs. South Dakota: Who Has Better Trust Law?

Creating a trust is an important step in protecting assets and providing for future beneficiaries. A states trust law is just as important. Living in Texas offers an array of benefits and tax advantages. However, when it comes to trust law, Texas falls...

October 2, 2019

Types of Trustee

There are different types of trustees. Over the next decade, trillions of dollars will be passed to future generations. Trusts have become a common strategy for estate planning. Naming the right trustee is crucially important. This should be a business...

September 30, 2019

Definitive Guide on a Delegated or Directed Trust

Delegated trust or directed trust? Everyone wants to know the pros and cons of each.

Directed trusts are newish (e.g. last 30 years). Delegated trusts have been around since the 1300's.

Neither a delegated nor directed trust should be defined as good...

September 13, 2019

Trustee Services Explained | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Trustee services are important to making sure your trust is administered correctly. It can be difficult to give up the control of your trust money to an outside company.  The extra trustee fees gives people doubt. Often, individuals will hire friends or...

September 6, 2019

What is a Bank Trust Company? | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

A bank trust company is a corporation that acts as an agent, fiduciary, or trustee. It is a trust company within a bank. Almost every city has a bank trust company. Not all states have the same quality trust law. South Dakota trust law offers the most...

September 4, 2019

Do You Write Your Own Blog? | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Do you write your own blog? I do.


At my core, I am a geek/nerd who loves to learn, especially about why's and how's.

Connecting the dots that are not obvious fascinates me. I always wanted to be a history professor.

The Q&A below acts as a template...

August 26, 2019

Definitive Guide on Trustee Fees | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Finding cost efficient trustee fees frustrates many people. Wealthy and affluent people find using trustee services daunting.


Nobody understands the process of how corporate trustee fees calculations. Nobody understands exactly what a trustee...

March 7, 2019

Advisors in Transition - 3 Easy Tips [Checklist]

Advisors in transition have reached a pain point needing a solution. They want a natural and easy solution to solve that pain point.

Examples of those pain points: Large wirehouses taking 50% or more of the revenue; stale RIA firms with no succession...

February 6, 2019

Top Choice for an Advisor Friendly Trust Company

The independent journalists at The Wealth Advisor, the voice of the financial advisor community, has selected Wealth Advisors Trust as one of their top choices for an advisor friendly trust company in 2019.

October 7, 2018

How a Bank Trustee Must Understand Millennials

A bank trustee works with clients from the WWII to millennial generations. They generally each have a unique set of characteristics. Of course, no generation is the same.

There are variances based on geographic, social, and economic factors. What makes...

August 10, 2018

Definitive Guide on Trust Law | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Advisors have the option to use a trust fund company that does not compete against them. There will be an avalanche of asset transfers between generations over the next 30 years. This blog provides information on the past, present, and future of trust...

July 3, 2018

Online Trust Distribution Requests | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Asking for money from a corporate trustee usually becomes an unhappy experience. It does not have to be.

Everybody has stories about these situations. These trust distribution requests usually become complicated by corporate trustees. It does not have to...

May 21, 2018

A south dakota trust company - 3 choices

A south dakota trust company has 3 trust company business models to offer. The traditional corporate trustee offered the choice with limited control for clients. Over the last 20 years, newer corporate trustees offer two additional trust company business...

April 5, 2018

Directed Trust Statutes : The Ins and Outs

Directed trust statutes separates who manages the trust assets and who administers the trust assets.  This rule gives everyone loads of flexibility for anyone using a trust under South Dakota trust laws.  Not every state offers directed trust law. It...

March 25, 2018

Understanding South Dakota’s Dynasty Trusts | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

South Dakota’s dynastic trust laws allow every family to potentially become wealthy among the leagues of the ultra-rich. Why limit yourself to keeping up with the Jones when you can be the Jones?

The attractive benefits of South Dakota dynastic trusts...

March 18, 2018

South Dakota Trust Law Benefits: 5 Reasons They Make Sense For You [250+ Happy Clients Served]

A marker of wealth is often the reluctance to talk about it. Don’t talk about it, be about it. The benefits of South Dakota trust law come from the obvious to the subtle. 

South Dakota trust benefits allow for exactly that. South Dakota’s lawmakers...

March 17, 2018

South Dakota trust law: Rated Top Location | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

South Dakota trust law focus on innovation and leadership continues yet again.

Annually, Trusts  & Estate Magazine reviews trust jurisdictions around the country.  Furthermore, their objective measurements reviewed the following factors:

(1) Rule Against...

March 11, 2018

Last Will & Testament | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

A few days ago, I finished reviewing and approving my third Will & Testament.

I have revised my Will three times — at 25, 42 and 50.  It's just part of the normal process we all need to go through.

We all have the same worries about taking care of our...

February 27, 2018

Testamentary Trust and Mistakes You Should Avoid | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

A testamentary trust is a legal trust that is created through precise instructions laid out in a deceased person’s Will. A testamentary trust is irrevocable and goes into effect at an individual's death. In other words, when this individual dies they...

February 23, 2018

How to Choose a Financial Planner | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

There are two types of people in the world financially — (1) Those that spend first and save last, and (2) those that save first and spend last; If you’re the type of person who falls into the latter group, then it may be time for you to choose a ...

February 20, 2018

Benefits to Knowing How to Use a Trust | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

A strong advisor-client relationship is important to understanding how to use a trust and getting the most benefits out of the financial framework. Wealth Advisors Trust has lifted the fog on trust services secrets and is helping its clients understand...

February 16, 2018

Trust Administration Handbook | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Preparing a Trust Administration Handbook for guidance as to the efficient handling of tax issues and long-term goals of the grantor can be the difference between financial success or destitution.

February 12, 2018

Trust Administration Fees Explanation [New Guide]

In this blog, you'll learn about trust administration fees.

You can control trustee fees around trust administration. Part of the answer centers on streamlining the trust document for trust administration. The other part rests on controlling how a...

February 7, 2018

Trust Administration, The Secret Sauce | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Trust administration provides the key ingredient or secret sauce to any trust experience.

In this blog, I will briefly go over the key pieces to great trust administration. As a co-founder of an advisor-friendly trust company, we understand the...

January 31, 2018

Top Five Things To Consider Before Establishing A Trust

What one does with their wealth is as personal as deciding what church to attend.

There are several options for protecting your lifelong work or inheritance, passing assets to the future generations of your family, or simply securing what wealth exists...

January 28, 2018

Trust Distribution: Goals, Priorities & Purpose | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Trust distribution guidelines in the trust document create the foundation of success or failure. Parents and grandparents must consider how trust distribution definitions fall under the supporting or enabling type. Having some plan leads to a balanced...

January 16, 2018

Definitive Guide to Directed Trusts [Guide]

Most financial advisors and clients are well aware of what directed trusts can do for them — mainly, provide flexibility on management of trust assets. There is a lot of 'noise' about directed trusts and explaining the hows, whys, why nots etc. is...

January 16, 2018

Client Focused Agency Trustee Services | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Creating a trust requires people to surrender control of that wealth to someone else. For those who worked hard for the money or simply withstood the temptation to spend every dollar, handing the assets over to the trustee represents a tremendous leap of...

January 16, 2018

The Dirty Business of Asset Management | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

The dirty business of asset management is an open secret.

Asset management firms research, buy, and sell marketable securities. Financial planners and wealth management firms allocate investors money to asset management firms. Asset management firms,...

January 12, 2018

Advisor Friendly Trust Company Top Pick | Wealth Advisors Trust

The Wealth Advisor, the voice of the financial advisor community, has announced  Wealth Advisors Trust as one of their top picks for advisor-friendly trust companies for 2018.

As the financial world lurches up and down, progress continues in the trust...

December 13, 2017

Advisor vs Adviser - Google Ranks One Higher

Recently, we had a silly dispute on our weekly marketing call, Advisor vs Adviser, that sent us down a rabbit hole. It started with an argument on whether or not our recent email had spelling errors.

"Pretty sure its ER"

"It says OR in the company name,...

December 1, 2017

New Fed Chairman Jerome Powell Answers To Trump or Us?

Monday, President Trump's nominee for the new Fed Chairman Jerome Powell exceeded expectations from investors.

If confirmed, Jerome Powell replaces Janet Yellen as the new Federal Reserve Chairman. The markets expect a smooth path to Mr. Powell's...

November 26, 2017

Kids That Code Will Get Fired | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

Kids that code do not have a sure-thing future.

However, over the past 15 years, parents have really pushed their kids to learn how to code. Unfortunately, parents who believe coding is the future are driving through the rearview mirror and asking the...

November 19, 2017

Definitive Guide on Picking a Trustee | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

In this blog post, I will walk you through the process step by step through picking a trustee with a few little surprises so you can choose the right one. 

November 3, 2017

Tax Reform - Who Pays More? | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

The recent tax reform proposal, introduced yesterday, has both some pretty big winners and losers.

In the first place, the bill, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is 429 pages and surprisingly lean. Of course, this kicks off the negotiations with both sides of...

October 31, 2017

Are Millennials the best and toughest clients?

Millennials will challenge you. This is a good thing. If you don't adapt to different generations, wants and needs, you have a fuzzy problem. Traditional companies have a hard time marketing to millennials and Gen Z-ers.

In our opinion, we believe...

July 16, 2015

Are Your Wealth Management Clients Happy? | Wealth Advisors Trust Company

We all like to think we are the biggest and brightest stars in the wealth management universe, but the truth is, there is a lot of competition out there. Much focus is given to adding new clients. However, it is equally important to keep those hard won...

October 24, 2014

Winner Declared in South Dakota Best Trust Company Faceoff

The best South Dakota trust company is not who you expect. 

It's not Citi or Guggenheim, and they're not “too big to fail” after an independent trust company beats them in the ranking of best client trustee service in South Dakota.

At Wealth Advisors...

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