estate planning

QTIP Trusts – Estate Planning for Those With Children From a Prior Marriage.

Cleveland, Ohio Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney offers the following:

The main benefit of a Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust is being able to control your estate after your gone.  In addition, there are several tax advantages for larger estates.

Each spouse can set up a QTIP trust, leaving assets to the other in trust.  When the first spouse dies, the survivor gets what is called a “life estate” in the assets that are left to the QTIP trust—that is, the survivor is entitled to any income the assets produce, and in the case of real estate, to its use. Only the surviving spouse can be named as the life beneficiary. The survivor does not, however, have full ownership of the trust assets and cannot sell them or give them away.

In order to qualify for the marital exemption, the spouse must receive all of the income from the trust and the Executor must make an election on the tax return.  QTIP’s are very similar to family trusts, or bypass trusts.  And in fact, many times you create a family trust in conjunction with a QTIP.  The difference is that QTIP’s are more restrictive and are useful for those who are in second marriages.

There may also be several tax advantages. Here’s an example:

  • Jim’s share of the marital estate is $12 million. He passes in 2016, leaving a spouse, Karen, and sons from a prior marriage. He had a revocable living trust, which becomes irrevocable upon his death.
  • Upon Jim’s death, his trust sub-divided into an “A” and a “B” trust. $5.43 million is diverted to his “B” trust. Karen is the beneficiary, with limited access.  Because this trust is under the federal estate tax limit, estate tax is $0.00.  Over the next 20 years, because of robust growth, the “B” trust is now $17 million.  Upon the Karen’s death, trust “B” passes to the son’s entirely estate tax free.
  • The remaining $6.57 million in assets are diverted to the “A” trust. Karen again has restricted access, but can use these funds for her health, maintenance and support. When Karen has expenses she uses the “A” trust and saves the “B” trust only for dire necessities.
  • Upon her death the “A” trust has been reduced (or eliminated) and the tax is minimal, if there is any at all. The remaining balance of the “A” trust goes to Jim’s sons.

There are many advantages to setting up a QTIP trust.  Every estate plan is unique and its important to contact an elder law and estate planning attorney who can analyze your estate.   Contact Cleveland, Ohio attorney Dan A. Baron at 216-276-4282 to learn more about QTIP or other trusts.  Baron Law is a Cleveland, Ohio law firm.

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Testamentary Trusts

Cleveland, Ohio Estate Planning Attorney Dan A. Baron offers the following on Testamentary Trusts.

Testamentary trusts are a great way to plan and safeguard your assets for minor children.  In other uses testamentary trusts can be used for beneficiaries with addictions or disabilities.   Unlike most trusts, testamentary trusts are incorporated into your last will and testament and are funded only after the creator’s death.   The biggest reason people use testamentary trusts is because they are able to control their assets after they die.

For example, if Mom and Dad die in a car accident leaving behind two young children, they would not want their $500,000 estate being left in the hands of nine and ten-year old.    Instead, Mom and Dad create a last will and testament and incorporate language that appoints a guardian for the children and trustee of their testamentary trust.   The trust parameters outlined for the Trustee to follow often include broad language like “to provide for the health, education, and well-being of my children.”   The trustee controls the money and then distributes it to the children as they need it.  Most often, the remaining balance left in the trust is distributed to the children once they reach the age of 25.

It’s important to remember that unlike most trusts, testamentary trusts do not avoid probate.  Instead, testamentary trusts are created after the probate process is complete.  Assets left from probate fund the trust and the trustee is then responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased.  Once the assets are in trust, they are protected from creditors and litigation.  However, there is no asset protection for the creators before death.

To learn more about testamentary trusts and how they might be beneficial for your estate plan, contact Baron Law LLC today at 216-573-3723.  You will speak directly with an attorney who can assist you.


The information contained in this article is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. This article is not meant to provide legal advice. If you wish to receive a legal opinion or tax advice on the matter(s) in this report please contact our office and we will speak with you directly. 


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What is Estate Planning?

What is estate planning?  Estate planning concepts have changed over recent years because today, more Americans fear outliving their retirement than death itself.  In fact, from 1980 to 2010 Americans are now living on average 8 years longer than before.   This extended life expectancy requires on average an additional $422,000 to live ‘comfortably.’  People have traditionally associated estate planning with the transfer of assets after their death.   For example, after the passing of a loved one you must consider the transfer of the home, bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc.  Estate planning now centers around three things: you, your loved ones, and your community.

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Most importantly, as the pyramid shows, estate planning is about you.  Before planning for the transfer of assets to your loved ones, you must first have assets to transfer.  It’s imperative to have a smart financial plan in place and be able to protect the wealth you’ve earned over your lifetime.   As your wealth grows, you should consider the tax consequences, risks, and even healthcare needs associated with your estate.

Healthcare has especially become a big topic under the umbra of asset protection.  Even larger estates can end up zeroing out with nursing home costs being upwards of $10,000.00 per-month.  But when you put yourself at the base of your estate planning pyramid, you might consider methods to protect your assets from the spenddown of Medicaid.  Asset protection methods like long-term care insurance plans and wholly discretionary trusts that can help save a portion of your assets from Medicaid.

Although charitable gifts are usually not the most important part of an estate plan, they may come in handy to save you thousands on income taxes.   You can take upwards of 30% or more of a deduction from income taxes by creating a charitable remainder trust.  Then you receive income over your lifetime from the trust and the money is passed on as your legacy to your favorite charity.

As you can see, estate planning involves more than just transferring your assets on to your loved ones.  There are numerous ways to provide for you and your family with a carefully and well-thought out plan.  Contact your Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney to start creating your plan today.  For a free consultation, contact Cleveland attorney Dan A. Baron at 216-573-3723.