Immigrants Get the Job Done, But a Regular Trust May Not: Is a QDOT Right for Your Family?

With all of the discussion on immigration lately, I thought it might be useful to discuss the concerns that arise when planning for a family with a non-citizen spouse.  With the big changes to the tax code at the end of last year, many think they no longer have an estate or gift tax problem.  Unfortunately, if you or your spouse is a non-citizen it is important to remember that the marital deduction still does not apply to you.  Further, the tax imposed on the transfer of the taxable estate of decedent non-residents who are not U.S. citizens remains subject to a minimum basic exclusion of only $60,000.  A family where one spouse is a non-citizen should  consider a Qualified Domestic Trust, also referred to as a QDOT. With a QDOT, assets go to the trust instead of to the surviving non-citizen spouse.  If you or your spouse is a non-citizen, you should discuss the benefits of a QDOT for your situation with a qualified estate planning attorney.