Since 2006, New Hampshire has permitted the formation of family trust companies (also known as private trust companies). A family trust company is a family-owned, non-depository trust company that provides trust, investment, and related services to a family, their trusts, and their businesses. A family trust company can provide an advantageous structure for administering a family’s trusts and wealth. As an institutional trustee, a family trust company provides continuity of trusteeship, helps to manage fiduciary liability, and can provide privacy. In addition, establishing a private trust company in New Hampshire provides access to the state’s modern trust laws and favorable tax environment.
In New Hampshire, a family trust company is exempt from state regulation so long as it offers its trust services only to family clients, as defined by statute, and not to the general public. It may also be exempt from regulation by the SEC if it meets strict requirements for a ‘family office’ exemption under federal law.
Alternatively, a family trust company may choose to be chartered and regulated by the New Hampshire Banking Department, in which case it is deemed a ‘state bank,’ and will be fully exempt from SEC regulation, even if it provides investment advice services to its clients. In addition to being restricted to serving only family clients, a New Hampshire chartered family trust company must maintain a minimum of $200,000 in capital, have no fewer than three directors, and is subject to regular examination by the Banking Department. It is worth noting that none of the directors need be a resident of New Hampshire, or even a U.S. citizen, unless specifically required by the Bank Commissioner to ensure safety and soundness.