Poll Results: Which Is the Best Trust Jurisdiction?

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

In a one-week LinkedIn poll conducted in March of 2023, I asked thousands of people primarily made up of estate planners and financial planners: “Which is the best trust jurisdiction?”

Among 5,104 “impressions” (number of times users see the poll question), there were 123 total votes.

The permitted responses were limited to Nevada and South Dakota simply because these are so clearly the two best trust jurisdictions and therefore there was no reason to dilute the votes by including additional options.


The results were as follows:

*Nevada                       72 votes / 59%

*South Dakota           51 votes / 41%

Author Comments

This was not a scientific poll.  Possible limiting factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Not everyone in the entire estate planning and financial planning industry was aware of the poll.
  2. Not every state was included, although again these are so clearly the top two states that this seems to be nearly irrelevant.
  3. Most of the views were likely LinkedIn connections of the author and therefore may be more prone to vote for the author’s home state of Nevada. However, note that the author skimmed the voters’ bios very quickly and it appears that there were more South Dakota resident voters than Nevada resident voters.
  4. Potential voters could have decided not to vote because they didn’t want the author to see their vote. Therefore, had the votes been anonymous, there could have been many more votes for South Dakota.  This is the limiting factor that most troubles me and makes the poll results inaccurate.

Author’s View of Nevada Versus South Dakota and Other States

Nevada and South Dakota are the top two trust jurisdictions for nearly every material planning objective.

The most important considerations in ranking the trust jurisdictions are generally (1) Dynasty Trusts, (2) Domestic Asset Protection Trusts, (3) Trust Decanting, and (4) having no state fiduciary income tax.

Both Nevada and South Dakota excel in all of the above. In this author’s opinion, South Dakota likely has a very slight edge in Dynasty Trusts, Nevada has a very slight edge in Domestic Asset Protection Trusts, both states are equal in Trust Decanting, and neither state has a state fiduciary income tax.

There are certainly other great trust jurisdictions, but they all have at least one blemish that is enough to separate Nevada and South Dakota from the rest of the pack. The next group of states are arguably Tennessee and Delaware, and Ohio and Alaska aren’t too far behind these two.

But there is separation. That is why the poll was limited to the two best trust jurisdictions: Nevada and South Dakota.


This was not a scientific poll.  It is what it is.  Take the results with a grain of salt.  Both states are magnificent choices for our clients.  Before Nevada became NEVADA, I used South Dakota trusts for my clients.  Now I obviously use Nevada.


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 has been named one of the 24 “Elite Estate Planning Attorneys” and the “Top Estate Planning Attorney of 2018” by The Wealth Advisor and one of the Top 100 Attorneys in Worth. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® which also named him Las Vegas Trusts and Estates/Tax Law Lawyer of the Year in 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2022.  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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