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Optimal Marital Trust Planning for Non-U.S. Citizen Surviving Spouses

Maximizing income can minimize federal estate tax.

Qualified domestic trusts (QDOTs), established under Internal Revenue Code Section 2056A, are used by decedents with taxable estates who wish to defer the federal estate tax due on assets passing to a surviving spouse who isn’t a U.S. citizen (a non-U.S. spouse). However, optimal design of a QDOT can decrease (and not just defer) the federal estate tax due by maximizing the fiduciary accounting income generated by the QDOT each year.1 Accordingly, an advisor facing a situation in


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