Poll Results: The New First-Tier Trust Jurisdictions

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished)

In May of 2021, I conducted a LinkedIn poll asking, “[w]hich of the following are the first-tier trust jurisdictions?” The choices were (a) AK, DE, NV and SD, (b) NV and SD or (c) NV, SD and TN.

The purpose of the poll was to see if the general public still believes that Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and South Dakota make up the first tier. Or have Nevada and South Dakota distanced themselves enough from Alaska and Delaware to deserve their own tier? Or has Tennessee improved enough to join Nevada and South Dakota and bump Alaska and Delaware.


The poll received 5,911 views and 114 votes.  The results were as follows:

AK, DE, NV and SD              30% (34 votes)

NV and SD                             30% (34 votes)

NV, SD and TN                     40% (46 votes)

However, there were a lot of votes made by those who either reside in one of the four jurisdictions or work for a trust company or other company located in that jurisdiction or who are affiliated with a trust company or other company located in that jurisdiction.

Tennessee was by far the most represented in that regard.  The other jurisdictions each only had a handful of participants.


In order to smooth out the results as best as possible, I removed all votes from those who have such a conflict and the results were as follows:

AK, DE, NV and SD              34% (26 votes)

NV and SD                             35% (27 votes)

NV, SD and TN                     31% (24 votes)

Therefore, the results are much closer after making these adjustments.  [Author Note:  The accuracy is likely plus or minus one or two votes due to the possibility of human error and/or uncertainty about a voter’s demographics.]


After factoring in a reasonable margin for error, there is almost no difference among the three categories.

However, there is at least one statistically significant result that can be taken from these results:  The public very clearly favors Nevada and South Dakota or Nevada, South Dakota and Tennessee as the new first-tier trust jurisdictions.

This is significant after so many years of Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and South Dakota being the presumed first tier.


I obviously didn’t vote since it was my own poll.  However, had I voted I would have voted for Nevada, South Dakota and Tennessee as the first-tier trust jurisdictions.

Nevada and South Dakota are superior to all other states in nearly all material factors affecting trusts.  That’s a fact, not an opinion.  Alaska and Delaware have been included in the first tier by most people for many years.  That’s also a fact, not an opinion.

However, the question isn’t about which two jurisdictions are the best.  It’s about which jurisdictions deserve to be in the first tier.  In my opinion, Tennessee is a better trust jurisdiction than Alaska and Delaware and deserves to be in the first tier.  That’s an opinion, not a fact.  That’s how I would have voted.


If you found this article interesting, you might also be interested in these other educational programs and products by Steve Oshins:


Steven J. OshSteven-Oshins43721143ins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) is a member of the Law Offices of Oshins & Associates, LLC in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was inducted into the NAEPC Estate Planning Hall of Fame® in 2011. He was named one of the 24 “Elite Estate Planning Attorneys” and the “Top Estate Planning Attorney of 2018” by The Wealth Advisor. Steve was also named one of the Top 100 Attorneys in Worth and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® which also named him Las Vegas Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year in 2012, 2015 and 2018 and Tax Law Lawyer of the Year in 2016 and 2020.  He can be reached at 702-341-6000, ext. 2, at soshins@oshins.com or at his firm’s website, www.oshins.com.

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