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An AB Trust is an estate planning device that helps married couples significantly reduce estate taxes. It is a combination of two trusts that split into two upon the death of the first spouse. A married couple will put their assets into an AB trust, equally diving the value of assets between both spouses, and name any individuals as their beneficiaries except for each other. After the death of the first spouse, the AB trust splits into trust A, or the survivor's trust (also called a Marital Trust, Marital Deduction Trust or QTIP Trust), and trust B, or the decedent's trust (also called a Bypass Trust, Family Trust or Credit Shelter Trust).
The surviving spouse will maintain full control over trust A but have limited control over trust B. Trust B will still allow the surviving spouse to reside in his or her home and draw money from the trust, provided those terms are written into the AB trust. Upon the death of the surviving spouse, the assets in both trusts will transfer to the named beneficiaries and will be tax exempt. The AB trust thus allows for the surviving spouse to be taken care of while living, while the deceased still has control over where his or her assets will go once the surviving spouse passes.
The AB trust has become unnecessary for many couples after tax changes in 2011, but it still may be a viable option for some. However, an AB trust can be an expensive and complicated estate planning option. They are difficult to create, as exact wording and division of assets must be written into the trust carefully and accurately. In addition, after the first spouse passes away, the AB trust may be even more difficult to administer and manage. The surviving spouse has the ability to draw income from the deceased spouse's "B" trust, which could mean that there is nothing left after his or her death to be given to the beneficiaries or heirs of that trust.
Creating an AB trust should not be done without the proper assistance of an estate planning attorney. These trusts are not for everyone and they may not apply to your situation. An estate attorney can easily assess your situation to determine if an AB trust is for you, and can then guide you through the process of successfully creating one. An estate planning attorney will ensure your AB trust is written and created correctly, so that you avoid problems in the future. Having an estate planning attorney create an AB trust for you can help you and your spouse be able to take care of one another after your passing, while also ensuring your heirs receive your assets in the future without having to suffer through large estate taxes.
Estate planning lawyers understand the complexity of AB Trusts. If you need an experienced estate planning lawyer, contact Attorney Search Network today. We can help you find an estate planning lawyer to assist you with AB Trust questions or issues.
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