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Flexible Trust-Funding Strategies Providing Indirect Future Access



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As it is widely known, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”) doubled the federal transfer tax exemption per donor from $5,000,000 to $10,000,000, indexed for inflation ($11,400,000 in 2019).  Absent further legislation, this TCJA provision will sunset after 12/31/2025 giving rise to an urgency for high net worth individuals to consider making substantial gifts to their beneficiaries free of gift tax prior to this sunset date, or otherwise risk losing the opportunity. 

 

Attempting to convince even those that can afford to transfer $23 million to an irrevocable trust, though, may be met with resistance because of the perceived loss of control and access to those funds.  This presentation will focus on several techniques that can achieve the transfer tax benefits of gifting but provide flexibility for the grantor(s) to indirectly access trust property if circumstances change and help make it more acceptable to “write the check” now.  “Gifting” away does not have to mean “giving” away! 


Specific topics will include:

 

  1. Mathematics of gifting low-basis vs. high-basis assets as well as gifting to a grantor vs. non-grantor trust vs. a grantor trust with life insurance.

 

  1. Using spousal access trusts for each spouse to create future flexibility, with life insurance to hedge the mortality risk for the survivor.

 

  1. Using the capability for a grantor to borrow from his or her irrevocable grantor trust to create future flexibility, and the mathematics of doing so.

 

  1. Using a split dollar loan arrangement to create estate liquidity outside the estate at death and potential to retain an income tax-free source of cash flow to the grantor during life, and the mathematics of doing so.

 

  1. Using an installment sale of an asset (or intrafamily loan) to an irrevocable grantor trust as a “wait and see” gift technique.


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Michael Fontanini, CLU, CFP®
Michael has earned the designations of Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), is FINRA series 7 and 26 registered and is a former member of the Advanced Sales Committee for LIMRA. He is also currently pursuing a Masters in Taxation (MT) degree through the Graduate Tax Program of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law/Villanova School of Business.

Michael is from Des Moines, IA and currently resides in Austin, TX.

Jay Judas is the CEO of Life Insurance Strategies Group, LLC. Jay provides strategy, validation and structure to a wide range of individual and corporate life insurance clients. He founded Life Insurance Strategies Group to offer unbiased and pragmatic advice to enhance and simplify the distribution, sale and purchase of life insurance.

Jay is a former senior executive with carriers Crown Global Insurance Group and BF&M Insurance Group. He served as the Country Manager for Life Insurance Distribution for Sun Life’s Bermuda Branch and for Old Mutual (Bermuda) Ltd. He holds a JD from Rutgers University School of Law, a M.Sc. in Leadership from Northeastern University and a BA in Communications from the University of Northern Iowa. Jay is a long-time member of The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU).


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