Prepare your Wyoming Private Trust Company

Wyoming private trust companies, sometimes referred to as private family trust companies (PTCs), provide several advantages for families seeking an alternative to conventional, and sometimes expensive, individual or corporate trustees to manage family dynasty trusts or other trusts. A PTC can alleviate worries regarding an individual trustee's bias, expertise, and permanency. Equally, a PTC can provide improved trustee flexibility and bureaucratic expediency

Recently, Wyoming's legislature has made PTCs more usable and friendly. Representative Jared Olsen helped structure some of the new PTC statutes as a co-sponsor to recent legislation. Families of smaller size with more modest means are increasingly ripe candidates for PTCs as the burdens of formation and management are decreased, especially since a PTC can be used under the organizational structure of Wyoming's limited liability company (LLC).

The primary advantages of PTCs include control, succession and stability and flexibility.

What Exactly is a Private Trust Company?

A PTC is simply an entity or organization in the legal form of an LLC, or sometimes as a corporation. The PTC is appointed as the trustee of one or more of a family's trusts (usually a family dynasty trust). PTCs in Wyoming are governed by the Wyoming Chartered Trust Company Act. Pursuant to the Act, a PTC may participate in trust company business for family members but may not provide trustee services to the general public. The Act permits both regulated and self-regulated PTCs.

Your Family is in Control

For all sorts of reasons, a family may hesitate to relinquish control of their assets to a corporate or individual trustee, especially if you are residing outside of Wyoming and are hiring an unknown corporate entity in Wyoming. In a PTC, the directors and committee members may be chosen by family members or as otherwise set forth in the PTCs operating agreement/bylaws. Family members may serve on certain committees within the PTC.

Predictability and Consistency

Wyoming has a 1,000-year lifetime limitation on a trust. Or in other words, your family dynasty trust may live for up to 1,000 years. While traditional successor trustees (trusted friend or family member) may come and go, with a PTC serving as your trustee, the underlying LLC or corporation may exist in perpetuity, outliving a traditional trustee. This creates predictability and consistency for your trust.


As with any LLC or corporation, a PTC is governed by its Operating Agreement/Bylaws. There is no statutory governance standard for a PTC in Wyoming, but the structure should be overseen by a board of directors or members, who in turn delegate duties to committees typically composed of, at a minimum, an investment committee and a distribution committee.

Self-regulated vs. Regulated

Wyoming is one of only three states where families may choose between a self-regulated private trust company (in statutory terms a "Private Family Trust Company") or a regulated private trust company (a "Chartered Family Trust Company").

With respect to regulated PTCs, the Wyoming Division of Banking is charged with examining the "condition and resources of the chartered family trust company, the mode of managing the company's affairs and conducting its business, all records…and such other matters as the commissioner may prescribe. Record keeping methods, including those for meeting minutes and ledgers are prescribed by statute and rule. Various additional policies are set forth in the Act. Because of these safeguards, there may be less opportunity for mismanagement in a regulated PTC in certain situations.

In comparison, the self-regulated PTC is a self-governed entity, primarily subject to conventional fiduciary rules and the duties and powers set forth in the foundation documents as supervised by the directors. There are limited startup costs including those associated with forming an LLC in the state. There are no requirements related to minimum capital, surety bonds or fidelity bonds. For peace of mind, a letter of assurance may be requested from the division of banking for a one-off fee, which verifies the company's compliance with the Wyoming Chartered Trust Company Act, though it is not required.