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Beneficiary Defective Inheritor's Trust

A Beneficiary Defective Inheritor's Trust (BDIT) is a type of Dynasty Trust that provides certain benefits and flexibility in estate planning. BDITs are not as commonly used as some other trust structures, but they can be a valuable tool for certain individuals seeking to pass wealth to beneficiaries while retaining some access and tax advantages. 

Benefits of the Technique

  1. Provides the trust assets with some protection against your creditors’ claims.

  2. You retain the right as beneficiary to manage trust assets, to receive trust income, to withdraw trust principal for your “health, education, maintenance or support”, and to receive additional distributions in the independent trustee’s discretion.

  3. Assets retained by the trust at your passing can stay inside the trust and benefit future generations, free and clear of estate taxes.



  1. Select an Experienced Attorney: Start by consulting with a qualified attorney who is knowledgeable about BDITs and understands your specific financial and estate planning goals.

  2. Identify the Settlor (Grantor): The settlor is the person who establishes the BDIT. Typically, a parent or another family member acts as the settlor.

  3. Choose Beneficiaries: You, as the primary beneficiary, will benefit from the trust. You can also designate your children or other family members as contingent beneficiaries.

  4. Funding the Trust: The settlor (parent or third party) funds the BDIT by transferring assets to the trust. These assets can include cash, investments, real estate, or business interests. It's recommended that the funding amount is substantial, often at least 10% of the purchase price of the intended property.

  5. Crummey Powers: The BDIT typically includes Crummey powers, which allow you as the beneficiary to withdraw gifts made to the trust for a limited time. This withdrawal right is a critical element of the BDIT structure for tax purposes.

  6. Grantor Trust Status: The Crummey powers and other provisions in the trust are used to ensure that you, as the beneficiary, are treated as the grantor for income tax purposes. This is important because it allows you to control and manage the trust assets without adverse tax consequences for the settlor.

  7. Trustee Selection: Choose a trustee or trustees to oversee the trust and make decisions in accordance with the trust's terms. The trustee can be an individual or a professional institution, depending on your preferences and needs.

  8. Draft the Trust Agreement: Work with your attorney to draft a detailed trust agreement that outlines the trust's terms, powers, and distribution provisions. This document will define how the trust operates and who has authority over it.

  9. Legal Formalities: Ensure that all legal formalities are followed, including the proper execution and notarization of trust documents in accordance with state laws.

  10. Compliance with Applicable Laws: Make sure the BDIT complies with federal and state tax laws, trust regulations, and any other relevant legal requirements.

  11. Regular Reporting and Compliance: Once the BDIT is established, it's important to adhere to ongoing reporting and compliance obligations, such as filing tax returns and maintaining proper records.

  12. Regular Review: Estate plans and trusts should be reviewed periodically to ensure they remain aligned with your financial and estate planning goals and to accommodate any changes in your circumstances.


Techniques Used with Beneficiary Defective Inheritor's Trusts

  1. Selling your assets to the trust.

  2. Supplementing the trust with Life Insurance specifically designed to maximize death benefits which may help you offset future estate tax liabilities and create liquidity protections for your spouse and children.

  3. Supplementing the trust with Life Insurance specifically designed for tax-free cash accumulation that you can access in the future.  This reduces the income taxes due by the BDIT, may allow for tax-advantaged alternative investing, and give the trust a pool of liquidity to draw from free of income taxation.


Final Notes

Remember, the mechanics of setting up a BDIT can be intricate, and the specifics may vary based on individual circumstances and objectives. Consulting with a skilled attorney is essential to ensure the trust is structured correctly and serves your intended purposes effectively.

Reach out and let us help guide you through how this technique may (or may not) fit into your estate planning goals.

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