Testamentary Trust

By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

A trust which is established at your death, typically under your will, is referred to as a testamentary trust. This can be contrasted with an inter-vivos or living trust established during your lifetime. Common testamentary trusts include a by pass trust, marital or QTIP trust and child's trust under your will. Advantages of testamentary trusts include that there is no cost or complexity while you are alive and you can change them so long as you are competent. In contrast, if you establish an irrevocable trust (cannot be changed) during your lifetime, you may trigger income tax filing requirements, have no ability to modify it, etc.

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