November 01, 2016 EXP

Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts

Jay A. Soled

For years leading up to 2013, spousal lifetime access trusts (SLATs) were in vogue. Why? They provided an opportunity for married taxpayers to make full use of their federal transfer tax exemption amount before it was scheduled to decline from $5 million to $1 million. At the time, the psychology of “use it or lose it” was pervasive. Notwithstanding the threat of the exemption declining, for tax years beginning in 2013, Congress permanently made the federal exemption amount $5 million (adjusted annually for inflation). Going forward, the salient question is whether SLAT use is still a viable estate planning tool.

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