Many people go into a second or third marriage with children from a previous marriage. This can create an estate planning problem. How can you provide for your new spouse upon your death and also leave an inheritance for your children?
One solution is to include a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust in your estate plan. The assets you leave to the trust can provide your surviving spouse with lifetime income. Any assets remaining in the trust at your survivor’s death will pass to beneficiaries you name, who can be your children from a previous marriage.
With a QTIP trust, you specify that no one other than your surviving spouse can receive income or distributions of principal as long as that survivor is alive. If so, the assets you leave to a QTIP trust can escape estate tax at your death. Instead, they will be included in your survivor’s taxable estate.
Issues to address:
* How to invest? A stock-heavy portfolio may pay out little income to the surviving spouse but a portfolio loaded with bonds may enjoy little or no growth for the children.
One solution is to instruct the trustee to invest for long-term growth but pay out, say, 5 percent of trust assets each year. If the trust grows, all the beneficiaries will come out ahead.
* When to pay out? With a QTIP trust, the remainder beneficiaries may not inherit for many years, until the death of the surviving spouse. To give your children an earlier inheritance, consider naming them as beneficiaries of an insurance policy on your life.