Wealthy people would be allowed to put property in trust for up to 360 years in Mississippi, under a bill that advanced another step Thursday in the state Senate.
Current Mississippi law allows trusts to last about 90 years. The trusts allow people to protect assets and reduce their tax liability.
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Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, said other states allow "dynasty trusts" that are 360 years or longer, and one state — Delaware — allows permanent trusts. She said Mississippi banks and attorneys could lose business if Mississippi residents go elsewhere to establish a trust.
"The reason we're doing this is because other states have become very flexible in their trust law," Doty said Thursday during a Senate debate on House Bill 153.
The Senate Democratic leader, Hob Bryan of Amory, said he applauds the success of people who have worked hard to accumulate wealth, but he doesn't see the point of the state setting a policy that allows them try to control what happens more than three centuries from now.
"The people working in the factories back home, who are going to work, working eight hours a day and getting a paycheck at the end of the week — this legislation isn't doing anything to help them," Bryan said Thursday. "They don't have some tax avoidance scheme down at the bank with the trust officer and their tax attorney."
Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, a tea party-backed Republican who frequently disagrees with Bryan, told the Democrat: "You're actually making good sense today."
The bill passed the Senate 24-21 Thursday. It will go to final House-Senate negotiations.
Senators defeated a proposal by Republican Sen. Briggs Hopson of Vicksburg to put a 110-year limit on real estate being put into trust.
Online: House Bill 153 http://bit.ly/1aNoYfC
Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.