Reverse qtip trust?

I'm sure many learned accountants and attorneys can find fault with this answer, but it is going to be too long even with this simplified version.

What is a QTIP:

To understand a Reverse QTIP, you must first know what a QTIP is. A QTIP trust is a Qualified Terminable Interest Property trust. This refers to the ability to give (either during life or at death) assets to your spouse in trust and not be subject to gift tax or estate taxes because a QTIP trust has special requirements from the Internal Revenue Code so that it qualifies for an unlimited marital deduction.

Lets say that Husband dies and leaves assets to Wife in trust. The Husband's estate will have to file a form 706 (estate tax return) with the IRS. If the trust meets certain qualifications set out by the IRS, then a QTIP election can be on the return. Any assets for which a QTIP election is made transfer to Wife in trust without any tax being assessed. If a QTIP election is not made, estate tax is assessed on the assets left in trust for Wife. It's that simple. As long as the trust qualifies, you make the QTIP election to get the unlimited marital deduction. All of those assets are now considered the assets of Wife.

A Different Tax the Reverse QTIP is used on:

Wealthy people used to often think, "If I give this money to my kids when I die, not only will I have to pay taxes on it, but when they die they will have to pay taxes on this money too. Why don't I just skip my kids and give it directly to my grandkids. That way we only have to pay the taxes once." That worked until the IRS figured out that they were missing out on a generation of estate taxes. Then they added the Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) Tax for any gift that skips a generation.

Where a "Reverse" QTIP Comes In:

Just like the estate tax has a credit amount and the gift tax has a credit amount, the IRS also gives each of us a credit to apply to the GST. Husband has one GST credit and Wife has one GST credit. However, if husband has given all assets to wife on death, he has not used his credit. Now only Wife's credit is left for any assets passing on to grandchildren. One of the credits the couple could have used has been, in essence, torn up and thrown away.

You will recall that above I mentioned that an election must be made on form 706 (a QTIP election) to get the unlimited marital deduction. What happens if that election is not made? If the QTIP election is not made, any assets that pass on to grandchildren will be considered as Husband's for GST credit purposes but taxes will have to be paid on whatever is given to Wife.

Here's where it gets tricky. At the same time the QTIP election is made for estate tax purposes, another election can be made "reversing" that QTIP election for the purposes of the Generation Skipping Transfer Tax. Therefore you have the benefit of both credits. The property gets a QTIP election for estate tax purposes but is still considered as Husband's for GST credit purposes. That way the property gets the unlimited marital deduction, but Husband still gets to use his GST credit.

Separate Reverse QTIP Trust:

When the QTIP election is reversed for GST purposes, it must be reversed for the entire set of assets in the trust. Typically the QTIP trust will be much larger than the GST credit amount will cover. (Remember the QTIP marital deduction is "unlimited.") Therefore, good planners will often create two QTIP trusts. One trust is just the right amount on which to "Reverse" the QTIP election for purposes of taking the GST credit. The rest (unlimited amount) gets dumped into the other QTIP trust that will not be reversed. Therefore, the smaller trust is called a "Reverse QTIP" Trust.

In summary, a Reverse QTIP Trust is a QTIP trust that is created in the anticipation that the amount placed in the trust will have the QTIP election reversed for GST purposes so that it still qualifies for the Husband's GST credit. In doing so, the credits of both spouses get to be used. If this planning is not done, only the last one to die gets to use their GST credit.