Beneficiary Defective Irrevocable Trusts (BDITs)

Expert Guidance from Nickerson Law Group

Nickerson Law Group specializes in crafting sophisticated estate planning solutions tailored to the unique needs of our clients. One such solution is the Beneficiary Defective Irrevocable Trust (BDIT), a strategic instrument designed for individuals seeking control, asset protection, and tax efficiency in managing their wealth.


An example of someone who would use a BDIT would be owners of rapidly appreciating, closely held businesses. By transferring their business ownership into a BDIT in exchange for a promissory note, business owners can ensure that future growth of the business escapes estate taxes.

While the value of the promissory note will be subject to estate taxes, strategically transferring the business to the BDIT before its value peaks minimizes the estate's tax exposure. Additionally, as the promissory note is repaid, beneficiaries can utilize the funds to support their lifestyle, combining growth potential with financial flexibility.

Understanding the BDIT

Formation and Functionality

A BDIT is initiated by a third party - typically a parent or another relative - who places initial assets into the trust. Although the beneficiary possesses certain powers over the trust, such as the ability to replace the trustee or direct investments, they typically do not contribute their own assets to the BDIT.

Beneficiary Empowerment

This trust uniquely empowers beneficiaries by granting them extensive control over the trust assets. This includes investment decisions, distribution rights, and even the ability to replace the trustee under certain conditions, all while ensuring the assets remain protected and outside the beneficiary's taxable estate.


Tax Implications of BDITs

Income Tax Perspective

For income tax purposes, the BDIT is intentionally structured to be "defective," allowing the trust's income to be taxable to the beneficiary. This is achieved through precise legal provisions, maintaining the income tax attributes with the beneficiary while offering the potential for tax-advantaged growth of trust assets.

Estate Tax Benefits

Assets placed in the BDIT, and their subsequent appreciation, are generally excluded from the beneficiary's estate. This provides a powerful tool for estate tax planning, ensuring that significant wealth can be passed on to future generations without incurring substantial estate taxes.


Advantages of BDITs

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    Control and Accessibility

    Beneficiaries maintain an unprecedented level of control and access, allowing for proactive management of trust assets.

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    Estate Tax Efficiency

    Assets held in the BDIT and their growth are excluded from the beneficiary's taxable estate, offering substantial estate tax savings.

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    Asset Protection

    The trust structure provides a robust shield against potential creditors, securing the assets for the intended use by beneficiaries.

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    Growth Outside the Estate

    As the trust is irrevocable and assets are not part of the beneficiary's estate, all growth occurs outside, compounding the trust’s benefits over time.

Our Commitment

We understand the complexities involved in establishing a BDIT and are dedicated to providing our clients with comprehensive, customized estate planning services. Our team of experienced attorneys ensures that every BDIT is meticulously structured to meet the individual goals and needs of our clients, adhering to the highest standards of legal excellence.

Contact us today to explore how a Beneficiary Defective Irrevocable Trust can enhance your estate planning strategy.

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