Estate Planning for couples in a second or later marriage can be tricky, particularly when one spouse is significantly wealthier than the other. One solution for allowing the well-to-do spouse to maintain control of his or her assets but keep the other spouse happy is the Lifetime QTIP Trust.
QTIP refers to “Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust,” which is a fancy term for a type of trust that allows a wealthier spouse to transfer an unrestricted amount of assets into trust for the benefit of a less wealthy spouse free from estate and gift taxes.
Many married couples have estate plans that make use of a QTIP Trust after the death of one spouse using the so-called “AB Trust” strategy. After the first spouse dies, the “B Trust” holds an amount equal to the federal estate tax exemption and the “A Trust” holds the excess. Under this strategy the “A Trust” is in fact a “QTIP Trust” which qualifies for the unlimited marital deduction, meaning that property passing into the trust will not be subject to estate taxes until the surviving spouse dies. As with other types of estate planning, Lifetime QTIP Trusts are not “one size fits all”.
If you are in a second or later marriage with uneven assets, please speak to your trusted financial advisor or attorney to determine what will work best for you.