Complex estate planning to reduce taxes

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2020 | Estate Administration & Probate |

New Yorkers who are looking for a way to maximize their family’s assets while minimizing what they pay in taxes may want to speak with a financial planner or an estate planning attorney. Before consulting a professional, you can start reading up on some options for investment plans, many of which involve creating a trust fund and setting up annuities.

Split interest trusts include grantor retained annuity trusts, known as GRAT, charitable remainder trusts, or CRAT, charitable remainder unitrusts, or CRUT, and charitable lead trusts, or CLAT. To create a GRAT, you transfer at least one high-yield asset into an irrevocable trust, and you receive annuity interest either for the duration of your life or a fixed term. In addition to the annuity that you retain, the appreciation or income on the assets goes to your beneficiaries tax-free.

With a CRAT, you also create an irrevocable trust, but your transfer of money or property will be a gift. You as the donor, or another non-charitable beneficiary, can retain an annuity for a set number of years, after which a charity will get the property or assets. You benefit from this because you get to deduct the present value of the remainder interest from your taxes. A CRUT is similar to a CRAT except the annuity is a set percentage of the balance.

A CLAT also involves transferring cash or other assets to an irrevocable trust, but the annuity for this type of trust is paid to a charity for a fixed number of years. After that period of time ends, the funds in the trust are transferred to a designated person who is not the charity. A CLAT is beneficial because a charitable deduction can be made from taxes in the year the gift is made, even though the amount is paid over the life of the CLAT.

There are other methods you can use to defer the amount you pay in taxes, such as credit-shelter trusts and qualified opportunity zone funds. You may want to speak with an estate planning attorney who handles complex matters about setting up a trust fund to minimize your taxes.