Dividing CRATs and CRUTs in Divorce

January 19, 2010 | Divorce, Legal Perspective, Tax Issues

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

A recently-issued IRS ruling (Rev.Rul.2008-41) addressed the issue of whether a charitable remainder annuity trust (CRAT) or charitable remander unitrust (CRUT) can be divided into two equal trusts upon divorce. A charitable remainder annuity trust is a trust in which the grantor receives income in the form of an annuity payment until his or her death, after which the trust principal is donated to charity. The annuity may not be less than 5% nor more than 50% of the trust principal. A CRUT is the same thing, except that the income payments are a fixed percentage of the principal.

Rev.Rul. 2008-41 established that it is possible to divide a CRAT or CRUT into two equal trusts whose terms are identical to the original trust, except that each spouse is the income beneficiary of one of the two resulting trusts. The resulting trusts are qualified as CRATs or CRUTs under IRS regulations, and no excise tax is triggered by the division of the trusts.

This post is not intended as tax advice and should not be used to avoid tax penalties by our readers, who should seek tax advice that is specific to their individual circumstances.

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