What is a Delaware Directed Trust?

A directed trust is a type of investment trust that appoints a particular trustee, usually a bank or firm, to administer specific aspects of the trust. Trustees who are responsible for directed trusts generally have a number of other professionals who assist in their administration of the trust by providing investment recommendations and distribution recommendations to the beneficiaries. By delegating these duties, the trustee as well as the beneficiaries are benefitted because the beneficiaries now are receiving expert advice in areas such as investing, while trustees can focus on maintaining the purpose of the trust and can in some cases limit their liability, depending on the state law.


Delaware directed trusts are a specific type of directed trust that is administered in the state of Delaware. Trustees will recommend that a trust be held and administered in Delaware depending on the nature of the assets that a party holds and what they seek to do with those assets. Many advisors or trustees will recommend a Delaware directed trust if the grantor, or maker of the trust, had assets that are concentrated, illiquid or difficult to manage. Illiquid assets are those assets which cannot be sold without a substantial drop in value or assets and are unique in that they are difficult to sell because there is not an immediate demand or interest by investors to purchase the asset. Other examples of concentrated or difficult assets that may be suited for Delaware directed trusts include stocks or other securities which have historical value to the family or that the beneficiaries think will perform well long term. Here, the trustee can continue to be responsible for managing the diversified assets, while an investment advisor can work with the beneficiaries in handling the concentrated asset.
Other benefits of this type of trust involves protecting the grantor’s interest by appointing a trust  protector who will act on the behalf of the grantor to ensure his or her goals come to fruition, which includes the ability to remove a trustee they feel is not following the grantor’s wishes. A distribution advisor can also be appointed to assess what is important in their specific situation when making future distributions. Additionally, in the majority of situations, Delaware’s tax laws apply to trusts as well. Delaware courts also do not require court filings in an effort to maintain the privacy of individuals and grantors can restrict a beneficiary’s access to some information, depending on the situation and trust.

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