State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) recently voted for legislation that would give Ohio families more freedom and flexibility over their financial decisions.

If House Bill 229, the “Ohio Family Trust Company Act,” is signed into law, Ohio would join 15 other states that allow the creation of family trust companies (FTC), entities that may provide a single family with fiduciary services like accounting, financial management and investment. Such a measure would make Ohio a more competitive option, since families that set up an FTC are not required to live in the state where it is based and currently often look outside the state for these services.

“House Bill 229 will allow families to manage their own wealth and keep Ohio competitive with other states,” said Representative Sprague.

The legislation defines an FTC as an entity wholly owned and controlled by family members organized to serve only members of that family. It acts as a fiduciary and does not do business with anyone who is not a family client.

HB 229 establishes two kinds of family trusts:
1. Unlicensed Family Trust Companies—very limited in scope, available only to descendants of a single ancestor and related trusts, charities and key employees of the FTC
2. Licensed Family Trust Companies—for families that prefer a FTC subject to the inspection of the Ohio Division of Financial Institutions; requires $200,000 in capital and must maintain a fidelity bond of at least $1 million

While 15 states already allow the creation of family trust companies, Ohio would be the first among the states bordering it to adopt this legislation. Among the intentions of House Bill 229 is to attract families from those bordering states to bring their business and investments into Ohio.

The legislation received five hearings in the House Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development Committee, where it passed with near unanimous support. It now awaits consideration in the Ohio Senate.

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