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QTIP TRUST - Qualified Terminable Interest Property

San Diego Estate Planning and Tax Attorney

What is a Qualified Terminable Interest Property or QTIP trust? How is a QTIP trust a part of any estate plan or transactional planning process?

A QTIP trust is a unique estate planning tool for married couples. The QTIP allows one spouse to distribute assets to the other while keeping options open for a marital tax deduction.

The QTIP provides protection for married spouses in the event of a death of one of the principles. When the first spouse passes away, the surviving spouse is able to access the assets in the QTIP in order to receive income or other distributions. The unique tax laws associated with QTIP trusts allow a surviving spouse to enjoy the benefits of the trust as long as they maintain a lifetime income from the QTIP.

A Qualified Terminable Interest Property or QTIP Trust is an Irrevocable Trust

The Qualified Terminable Interest Property or QTIP trust is irrevocable. It is generally used to ensure smooth transition of assets to a surviving spouse with the ultimate intention of passing remaining assets to heirs or beneficiaries. Spouses are able to pass assets to one another without triggering federal gift taxation.

It is important to note that a spouse receiving an asset transfer through a QTIP cannot have an “income interest” in the QTIP or power over the appointment of the trustee or principal.

A QTIP Trust is Generally Part of a Well Structured Estate Plan

Generally speaking, the QTIP trust is established as part of a multi-trust strategy which provides maximum flexibility for the surviving spouse. Many people prefer to hold some assets in a “revocable trust.” A revocable trust allows the grantor to transfer assets into or out of the trust, while trust provisions may be altered or outright cancelled at any point if needed.

However, a revocable trust has limitations from the perspective of taxation and wealth transfers. It is common for an estate plan to establish an A-B trust along with a QTIP. Upon the passing of a spouse the A-B trust may transition to two or three trusts:

  • One for the needs surviving spouse
  • Perhaps a second “family trust”
  • QTIP Trust

The goal of this strategy is to provide maximum flexibility and control for the surviving spouse while protecting assets from creditors and reducing or eliminating tax exposure.

In this structure the QTIP trust allows the surviving spouse to receive most or all of the benefits of marital assets and the income they generate. When the surviving spouse ultimately passes, the QTIP passes to designated heirs and beneficiaries.

This is especially beneficial for blended families and planning for children of previous marriages. The QTIP allows the surviving spouse to enjoy the maximum benefits of marital deductions under estate tax laws. If the value of the estate exceeds estate tax limitations, it can still serve to defer payment of estate taxes until after the surviving spouse has passed.

Is a QTIP or QDOT Trust Appropriate for Your Unique Circumstances?

A QTIP trust is different from another common form of trust planning: the Qualified Domestic Trust or QDOT. The QDOT is generally considered when one of the married spouses is not a United States Citizen. The selection of appropriate trust strategy is part of the comprehensive transactional planning and estate planning services provided by Allen Barron.

Contact an Experienced San Diego Qualified Terminable Interest Property or QTIP Trust Estate Planning and Tax Attorney

Estate planning provides protection for individuals, spouses and their heirs and beneficiaries. An effective estate plan should protect assets while shielding them as much as possible from taxation and creditors. A comprehensive estate plan should also take into consideration business interests, transactional planning, liquidity, risk management, life insurance, charitable and philanthropic intentions, education, any special needs.

Want to learn more about a QTIP Trust and if it is the right solution for your unique situation?  We invite you to review the strong recommendations of former clients and the legal industry and contact Janathan Allen and the experienced Allen Barron team or call today for a free consultation at 866-631-3470.

As an experienced tax, estate planning and business attorney Janathan Allen has the knowledge, skill and unique acumen necessary to approach the local, regional, national and international implications of your unique circumstances.



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For more information or to discuss your tax, legal and accounting needs contact Allen Barron or call 866-631-3470 for a free and confidential initial consultation. Learn about the importance of integrated business strategy and coordination across legal, tax and accounting systems.

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