State taxes and state financial soundness (South Dakota has no personal or corporate income tax and is AAA-rated) are among the important considerations in deciding where to establish a trust or business.  Another important factor: the legal liability system.

Harris Interactive, Inc. has done surveys for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform for the last 15 years.  In the most recent survey released this week, entitled “Ranking the States—a survey of the fairness and reasonableness of state liability systems,” South Dakota was ranked #1 among all states.  The survey polled a national sample of 1,321 in-house general counsel, senior litigators or attorneys, and other senior executives who are knowledgeable about litigation matters at public and private companies with annual revenue of at least $100 million, and asked them to rate a number of factors, including overall treatment of tort and contract litigations, class actions, damages, discovery, trial judge impartiality and competence, jury fairness, and quality of appellate review.

The result: South Dakota came out on top in this year’s survey.  South Dakota’s top ranking was an improvement from its 9th ranking in 2015.  Other states that are generally compared to South Dakota in trust situs and their rankings are Alaska (6th), Wyoming (8th), Delaware (11th) and Nevada (37th).  Delaware had led the poll in 2015 and previous years, but a number of states moved past it and South Dakota moved to the top spot.

For further discussion, please contact a Davenport Evans lawyer from one of the following practice groups: Trusts and Estates, Trust Companies, Banking and Financial Services, or Corporate and Business Law.

Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, LLP, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is one of the State’s largest law firms. The firm’s attorneys provide business and litigation counsel to individuals and corporate clients in a variety of practice areas. For more information about Davenport Evans, visit