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Maura Curran, Attorney
Jupiter, FL 33458

Dispelling Myths and Answering FAQs in Estate Planning: A Guide to Smart Wealth Management

As an experienced Estate Planning Attorney, I often encounter misconceptions and questions regarding the process of wealth transfer and tax planning. One common area of concern involves the balance between saving on taxes and maintaining control over your assets. Here, I aim to clarify these issues and provide insightful answers to some frequently asked questions.

Myth Busting: Control and Tax Savings in Estate Planning

Myth 1: “To save on taxes, I must immediately give up control of my assets.”

Reality: This is a common misconception. In reality, estate planning tools like grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), grantor retained unitrusts (GRUTs), and qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs) allow you to enjoy benefits from your assets while still taking advantage of tax reduction strategies. Estate planning is not a binary choice but a nuanced process tailored to your unique needs and goals, ensuring optimal outcomes for you and your loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What’s the ideal asset for a grantor-retained annuity trust?

Answer: The most suitable assets for a GRAT are those likely to appreciate in value over time, outpacing the Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.) § 7520 rate. Assets outperforming this rate will have residual value after the annuity payments, which can then be transferred to beneficiaries, potentially free of gift and estate taxes, particularly in a zeroed-out GRAT scenario. Conversely, if the assets underperform or match the § 7520 rate, they will likely return to you, leaving minimal or no residual for beneficiaries upon trust termination.

Question 2: How do GRATs and GRUTs differ?

Answer: The key difference between these trusts lies in the annuity payments. A GRAT provides fixed annuity payments, typically based on the trust’s initial value, resulting in consistent yearly payments. In contrast, a GRUT’s annuity payments are a fixed percentage of the trust’s current value each year, leading to variable payments if the trust’s value fluctuates.

Question 3: Can any real estate be used in a QPRT?

Answer: When funding a QPRT, you can use your primary residence, a vacation home, or a fractional interest in these types of properties. However, it’s important to note that you can establish a QPRT with one residence but can have 2 QPRT.


Estate planning is a complex but essential aspect of wealth management, especially for high-net-worth individuals. My commitment is to guide you through these complexities, ensuring that your estate plan is not only tax-efficient but also aligns with your desire to maintain a degree of control over your assets. If you have further questions or need personalized advice, please feel free to reach out to The Curran Law Firm.