Estate Planning

  • Determine what assets are included in estate.
  • Trust for incapacitated or incompetent spouse.
  • Begin gifting programs.


  • Avoid intestate distribution of property.
  • Trust for minors or incompetents.
  • By-pass trust to protect first to die unified credit equivalency deduction of:
2015 $5,430,000.00 $5,000,000.00
2016 $5,430,000.00 No Tax
  •  Gift to surviving spouse.
    •  Outright – Unlimited Marital Deduction.
    •  QTIP trust – All income to surviving spouse during her lifetime with remainder to beneficiaries upon spouse’s death.  Assets of  QTIP trust on hand at surviving spouse’s death are included in surviving spouse’s estate.
  • Generation-skipping tax trust to take advantage of $5,430,000 exclusion (2015).  Use special QTIP trust.
  • Provide for efficient administration.
  • Appointment of trustee – Consider tax consequences.

Coordination of Non-Probate Assets

  • Life insurance trust or coordination of beneficiary designation for life insurance.  Consider using insurance to fund by-pass trust.
  • Retirement benefits – Coordinate with tax planning in Will.  Spouse as beneficiary to avoid high trust and estate income tax rates.
  • Joint bank accounts.  Do they conflict with terms of Will?
  • Asset preservation planning.


  • Each spouse is entitled to gift $14,000.00 per year (2015) per person without reducing their unified credit.
  • Consider life insurance trust if estate is of sufficient size and you are willing to relinquish control of life insurance policies.
  • Tennessee Uniform Transfer to Minors Trust.
    • No withdrawal (Crummey) powers required in order for gifts to trust to qualify for $14,000 gift exclusion.
    • Trust must terminate when child reaches 21 years.
  • Gift to Minors Trust with Crummey powers.
    • Crummey powers of withdrawal must be used to take advantage of $14,000 gift exclusion.
    • Trust assets can be retained for benefit of minor past the age of 21.
    • More than one minor can be beneficiary of trust.
  • Gifting ownership interest in family business while retaining managing control of such business. Family  Limited Partnerships/LLC Economic Interest – Gift Limited    Partnership shares or LLC Economic Interest to children or trusts for children to remove the underlying value of the business from the donor’s estate to the donee’s estate. Excellent estate reduction device that allows the assets to be maintained by the family unit.
  • Gift Tax Exclusion for 2015 is $5,430,000.00.