What is a Bypass Trust?
An estate planning tool that couples have utilized for years is the bypass trust. The trust is a long-term planning device that allows a spouse to leave property that will not be subject to estate taxes when he or she passes away.
For couples that plan their estates together, they can make sure that the property will be taxed only once between the two of them by leaving it in a bypass trust. In order to keep the trust from being taxed when your spouse dies, you must ensure two provisions in your documents—you must limit your spouse’s power to access the trust during his or her lifetime and you must restrict your spouse’s power to distribute assets upon his or her death.
These conditions must be in place to satisfy the rules set up by the IRS. However, you may give your spouse the right the withdraw principle for his or her health, education, and support. You can also appoint him or her as trustee of the bypass trust. While your spouse is not allowed to give the assets to himself, his estate, or his estate’s creditors, you can grant him the right to name specific individuals in his will who will succeed to the trust upon his death.