KENDRIS TRUSTEES (USA) LLC is a South Dakota public trust company offering trusteeship for U.S. trusts governed by the law of South Dakota, U.S.A. Our clients include international and domestic individuals, families and companies as well as family offices, financial institutions and law firms. We offer our clients tailored solutions which help them achieve their long-term planning objectives. By combining expertise with independent thinking, we create value for our clients that will stand the test of time.

As an independent U.S. trust company, fully owned by KENDRIS Ltd., KENDRIS TRUSTEES (USA) LLC is free to pursue the best interests of its clients.

With its vast experience in international clientele, and its ability to offer U.S. solutions, KENDRIS TRUSTEES (USA) LLC connects the complexity of global-oriented clients with a variety of well-recognized succession planning tools such as South Dakota trusts.

We specialize in trust administration of U.S. trusts established in South Dakota and trusts of other jurisdictions which move to South Dakota.

Thanks to our international expertise in dealing with, and administering foreign trusts, we have a long history of serving international clients with ties to the U.S., be it through U.S. investments such as real estate projects, or family members who have moved to the U.S.

Helping our clients from a U.S. base completes our wide range of services which we are able to offer to our international clients.

KENDRIS TRUSTEES (USA) LLC provides a wide range of U.S. trust services, with the exception of asset management, ranging from directed and delegated trust administration services to U.S. trusts with financial and non-financial assets.

Our objective is to assist you in your long-term planning targets and to facilitate the flexible and individualized transfer of your wealth to the next generation or in accordance with your wishes. We are committed solely and completely to your interests.

U.S. Trust in South Dakota

The benefits of a South Dakota Trust are:

Unlimited perpetuity period (trust duration)

No state trust income tax

Directed and delegated trust statute (trustee delegates investment responsibility, but keeps selection of investment advisors and performance monitoring responsibilities)

Low state premium tax for life insurance premiums

Domestic asset protection provisions (2 year fraudulent conveyance claw back period)

Court records are sealed in perpetuity and therefore not available to the public

Trust Services

U.S. trusts are well recognized succession planning vehicles in the U.S. They provide for a very flexible means of structuring wealth, and may be used to hold all types of assets and rights without restriction. While the U.S. Federal tax law defines a U.S. trust for U.S. tax purposes, the substantive laws of the 50 U.S. States govern the use of U.S. trusts and the powers, duties and liabilities of U.S. trustees.

There are a variety of reasons why a client may want to establish a U.S. trust in South Dakota. Amongst others, the main reasons are:

Succession planning vehicle for U.S. beneficiaries

International families require for their U.S. family members established vehicles which are well-recognized in the U.S. and which offer maximation of succession planning benefits. A U.S. trust is commonly used for the implementation of a variety of legitimate succession planning techniques. U.S. tax law recognizes the trust as a valid instrument for such purposes.

Domestication of a foreign trust into the U.S.

In order to avoid negative income tax consequences and onerous reporting requirements for U.S. beneficiaries of “foreign trusts”, it may be more advantageous to domesticate a foreign trust into the U.S. By bringing the foreign trust into the regulated U.S. environment, benefits exclusive to U.S. structures are made available to the U.S. beneficiary.

Recipient of income arising from a foreign trust

U.S. beneficiaries may prefer to receive their beneficial interest in a foreign trust directly to their own U.S. trust. This will allow them to take advantage of the succession planning benefits available to them in the U.S.

Pre-immigration planning tool

A settlor with the intention to move to the U.S. may establish a domestic U.S. trust prior to formally emigrating. Depending on the settlor’s home country, the trust may provide more testamentary freedom and easier administration than is available in the settlor’s home country or in the country where the settlor’s assets are situated.

Modern South Dakota trust law

South Dakota trust law offers a variety of advantages beneficial for an international family’s planning objectives: unlimited perpetuity period, no state income tax levied on trusts, low state premium tax for life insurance premiums, domestic asset protection provisions and trust records sealed in perpetuity.

Recognized structure for U.S. situs investments

U.S. trusts are very often used by foreign investors to structure investments in U.S. situs assets. In addition to protecting the foreign settlor and foreign beneficiaries from U.S. federal estate tax, if structured properly, a U.S. trust may provide further unique benefits.

There are different types of South Dakota trusts which KENDRIS TRUSTEES (USA) LLC offers. The most important ones are the following:

South Dakota dynasty trust

The South Dakota dynasty trust is a perfect vehicle for leaving assets to a U.S. beneficiary while at the same time avoiding probate procedures in the U.S. The South Dakota dynasty trust protects the U.S. beneficiaries from U.S. gift taxes upon the establishment of the U.S. trust by the foreign settlor as well as from U.S. estate or generation-skipping transfer tax. The dynasty trust can continue perpetually for the U.S. beneficiaries with no limitation for duration.

Foreign grantor trust

A foreign grantor trust is established by a non-U.S. settlor for the benefit of U.S. and non-U.S. beneficiaries. Despite the fact that it has a U.S. trustee and is subject to South Dakota law, it can be structured in a way that it remains “foreign” for the lifetime of the non-U.S. settlor, thereby retaining all benefits of an offshore trust.

Non-grantor trust

A U.S. non-grantor trust provides a variety of advantages for its beneficiaries: the U.S. beneficiaries are only taxed on what they receive from the trust; it protects the U.S. beneficiaries from U.S. estate tax; if structured properly, it also protects them from future creditors (2-year fraudulent conveyance claw back period).

Directed trust

A directed trust allows an international family to appoint an external investment advisor/manager in charge of the trust’s investment management and who directs the trustee as to how the trust assets must be invested, usually pursuant to a defined investment policy. As this U.S. trust relieves the trustee from all investment responsibilities and is recognized by South Dakota statute, it permits greater investment freedom than would ordinarily be permissible in a “regular” trust.

Life insurance trust

A life insurance trust purchases U.S. life insurance for the benefit of its beneficiaries. Properly structured life insurance can defer federal income taxes and allow federal and state income tax-free withdrawals by the U.S. beneficiaries. South Dakota has the lowest rate of state insurance premium tax in the U.S.

Charitable and purpose trusts

South Dakota trust law allows the creation of trusts for charitable, educational, religious, or other public use purposes. The grantor of the U.S. trust maintains the power to enforce the charitable trust or may designate persons for such purposes. In the event of default, the attorney general will ensure the enforcement of such trusts by proper proceedings in the courts. U.S. trusts for lawful non-charitable purposes may be established in South Dakota since it neither has a law rule against perpetuities nor a rule limiting the duration of non-charitable purpose trusts.

Qualified domestic trust

A qualified domestic trust is a unique instrument for preserving the marital deduction on transfers from a decedent to his/her surviving spouse which is otherwise not available where the recipient spouse is not a U.S. citizen. A “QDOT” permits deferral of U.S. estate tax, although not avoidance.

Download PDF



212 S. Main Avenue, Suite 139,
Sioux Falls, SD 57104, USA
Phone: (+1) 605 271-5144



1110 Brickell Ave., Suite 603
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (+1) 305 415 8784



Wengistrasse 1
8021 Zürich,


Contact Persons

Christian Lyk

+41 58 450 59 46

Khaled Rezaie

+41 58 450 52 40

Gordana Tisljar

+41 58 450 51 07