Trust and Estate Counsel

Tennessee Estate Planning Law

Insight and commentary on estate planning issues impacting affluent residents of Tennessee

QPRTs Can Also Be Used to Avoid Ancillary Probate

I recently met with clients who own a very valuable home in Florida. We discussed the potential use of a revocable trust to avoid the need for ancillary probate in Florida following their deaths. We subsequently discussed ideas for reducing their estate taxes, including the use of a QPRT for their Florida home. My clients decided to proceed with a QPRT, but decided not to use a revocable trust since it is not needed for avoiding Florida probate.

The wife is a few years younger and has no known health concerns; therefore, she is the better candidate to establish the QPRT. She will transfer one-half of the home to a QPRT with a 10-year term and one-half of the home to a QPRT with a 13-year term.

Using two QPRTs instead of one accomplishes two purposes: First, it allows a fractional interest discount for both halves of the house. This can be as much as 25 or 30 percent. Second, the mortality risk is hedged somewhat. If the wife dies after 11 years, she will have succeeded in removing one-half of the home from her estate. We are hoping that she survives at least 13 years and removes the whole house from her estate.

The combined GRAT discount and fractional interest discount amount to about 50% of the current value of the home. This means that my clients will be making a $2.2 million gift at the current time. There are no federal gift tax concerns due to the current $5 million federal gift tax exemption. Because the gift is Florida real estate, it will not be subject to Tennessee gift taxes. Thus, this asset is an ideal way to take advantage of the current high federal gift tax exemption without having to pay Tennessee gift taxes.

It is likely that the home will appreciate between now and the date of death of my clients. Assuming the wife lives at least 13 years, none of the appreciation will ever be subject to transfer taxes.

In summary, when you own a home in another state, you might consider using a QPRT to avoid ancillary probate and to reduce estate taxes.