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Portability and Second Marriages | Wealth Administration

Since portability was enacted as a part of the Tax Aid Act of 2010, it’s taken the stress off {couples} to formulate an property plan round a main objective of utilizing as a lot property and present tax exclusion as potential on the first loss of life. By eliminating the “use it or lose it” facet of planning with the relevant exclusion, portability permits a pair to put aside property in a non-marital belief on the first loss of life, however not trigger use of the exclusion to drive different planning selections. This freedom is especially essential for {couples} with massive quantities in particular person retirement accounts, who want to depart the IRAs on to the surviving partner due to the earnings tax benefits.

A Harmful Alternative?

Regardless of its benefits, portability isn’t all the time really useful. The household’s legal professional and household workplace advisors ought to train warning in a wedding through which there are kids from a previous marriage or different non-standard household conditions. Right here, portability stays a harmful selection. The property planning legal professional wants to contemplate whether or not leaving an executor with discretion to make use of portability is even applicable, and whether it is, who the executor must be and the way the property tax burden must be allotted.

The issue with portability in non-standard households is that it permits the surviving partner to make use of the DSUE quantity personally, somewhat than for the beneficiaries of the primary partner to die. In impact, electing portability is like leaving property outright to that surviving partner. The Treasury rules present that, for a testate decedent, solely the executor could make the portability election. In these conditions, the executor most likely shouldn’t be a beneficiary underneath the property plan and/or must be directed as to a portability election.

For instance, if the property isn’t massive sufficient to independently require the submitting of an property tax return, an executor who’s a baby of a previous marriage might select to not incur the expense of submitting an property tax return solely to make the portability election for the second partner. Fairly than have the events disagree over the necessity for a return, or over protecting the price of its preparation, it’s higher to have the property plan direct whether or not an property tax return must be filed to elect portability and, in that case, who’s chargeable for the price of the preparation and submitting.

Usually, in a fancy household construction through which a consumer has youngsters from a previous marriage, a professional terminable curiosity property (QTIP) belief is used for the surviving partner, with the belief property ultimately passing to the consumer’s descendants. Nevertheless, when a QTIP belief is mixed with portability, the consumer’s property plan might not function as meant.


John marries Mary a number of years after his spouse, Janet dies. John has three youngsters from his marriage to Janet. John bequeaths most of his property to a QTIP belief for Mary, the rest to his youngsters. He names Mary as executor. At John’s loss of life, Mary elects QTIP therapy for the belief and portability. She then makes presents of her personal property to her household utilizing John’s DSUE quantity. Mary dies with an property equal to her primary exclusion quantity, which she additionally leaves to her household. The QTIP belief pays property tax, and John’s youngsters obtain no profit from John’s exclusion quantity.

Even when Mary didn’t make presents to her household, assuming that her property was massive sufficient to soak up most of her relevant exclusion quantity (together with the DSUE), the QTIP belief must contribute to pay the property taxes attributed to it, until the property plan waives reimbursement. IRC Part 2207A requires reimbursement on a marginal, not proportionate, foundation. Thus, the QTIP belief might bear most or the entire property tax on the second partner’s loss of life, whereas the second partner’s private property are sheltered partially by the deceased partner’s DSUE quantity. In circumstances corresponding to these, the extra prudent plan of action could also be to make use of conventional credit score shelter/marital deduction planning. If there’s DSUE quantity obtainable, then the property plan ought to direct whether or not it will likely be used and the way the tax burden on the QTIP belief is dealt with.

Prenup/Postnup Settlement

The couple additionally might handle these points in a prenuptial or postnuptial settlement. For instance, the events might agree to allow the surviving partner to have the usage of any DSUE quantity of the primary partner to die in return for an settlement that the surviving partner would waive the precise of reimbursement for tax due because of the inclusion of the QTIP belief within the surviving partner’s property (or a minimum of for that portion of the QTIP belief equal to the DSUE quantity).

Thomas Abendroth is a associate at ArentFox Schiff LLP in Chicago



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