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Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) (10 Pages)

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This is a Form of a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust. With the increased transfer tax exclusion in 2018 and the concern that the law will sunset in eight years – and possibly sooner via political change, the SLAT is an excellent way for a person to make a transfer using this trust that names his or her spouse as the primary beneficiary without claiming the marital deduction, so that the donor spouse is assured of using the increased exclusion just in case it is reduced in the future.  

It can also be used as a variation of a life insurance trust in that the life insurance policy transferred to and to be owned by the trust is assumed to have cash value, and the power is given to the trustee to use the trust property, including the cash value, for the benefit of the spouse of the settlor. Here, the spouse is indicated as the sole beneficiary of the trust while alive. If desired, the trust could be prepared to benefit others, but typically in these trusts the spouse is the sole beneficiary. It is strongly recommended that the trustee of this trust be independent, i.e. certainly not the settlor or spouse, and ideally someone (or a corporate trustee) truly independent of the settlor and the spouse. This Form suggests ultimate distributions to children of the settlor at ages 30 and 35. Of course, those ages can be varied, and further provisions can be made for other beneficiaries if desired.


Steven G. Siegel is president of The Siegel Group, which provides consulting services to attorneys, accountants, business owners, family offices and financial planners. Based in Morristown, New Jersey, the Group provides services throughout the United States.
Mr. Siegel is the author of many books, including: The Grantor Trust Answer Book (2012 and 2013 CCH); CPA’s Guide to Financial and Estate Planning (AICPA 2012); and Federal Fiduciary Income Taxation (Foxmoor 2012).

In conjunction with numerous tax planning lectures he has delivered for the National Law Foundation, Mr. Siegel has prepared extensive lecture materials on the following subjects: Planning for An Aging Population; Business Entities: Start to Finish; Preparing the Audit-Proof Federal Estate Tax Return; Business Acquisitions: Representing Buyers and Sellers in the Sale of a Business; Dynasty Trusts; Planning with Intentionally-Defective Grantor Trusts, Introduction to Estate Planning; Intermediate-Sized Estate Planning; Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid: Explanation and Planning Strategies; Subchapter S Corporations: Using Trusts as Shareholders; Divorce and Separation: Important Tax Planning Issues; The Portability Election; Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax: A Comprehensive Review; and many other titles.

Mr. Siegel has delivered hundreds of lectures to thousands of attendees in live venues and via webinars throughout the United States on tax, business and estate planning topics on behalf of numerous organizations, including The Heckerling Institute on Tax Planning, CCH, National Law Foundation, AICPA, Western CPE, the National Society of Accountants, the National Tax Institute, Cohn-Reznick, Professional Education Systems, Inc., Foxmoor Education, many State Accounting Societies and Estate Planning Councils as well as on behalf of private companies.

He is presently serving as an adjunct professor of law in the Graduate Tax Program (LLM) of the University of Alabama, and has served as an adjunct professor of law at Seton Hall and Rutgers University law schools.

Mr. Siegel holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University (magna cum laude, phi beta kappa), a juris doctor from Harvard Law School and an LLM in taxation from New York University Law School.




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