Structuring Joint Trusts in Separate Property States to Avoid Income and Gift Tax Pitfalls

Identifying "Problem" Assets, Coordinating JRTs With Credit Shelter Trusts, Drafting GPOAs, and More

Recording of a 90-minute CLE/CPE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Program Materials

This CLE/CPE webinar will provide estate planners and advisers with a thorough and practical guide for utilizing joint trusts in separate property/common law states. The panel will outline when to use joint marital trusts (JMTs) and when to steer clear of JMTs. The webinar will identify specific tax traps and offer drafting language to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of using JMTs in common law states.


Whether to utilize a JMT in a state that does not default to community property law presents both risk and reward. In some situations, couples should have separate trusts; however, for many couples, setting up a joint trust is the preferred vehicle for wealth planning. Estate planning counsel should anticipate and avoid tax pitfalls when structuring joint trusts in separate property states.

Navigating the gift tax consequences is critical when setting up a joint trust in a separate property state. Where the spouses contribute unequal amounts, funding the trust may trigger gift tax if the trust instrument does not correctly assign the power to revoke or withdraw assets.

There are also income tax risks in structuring a joint trust in a separate property state. Estate planning counsel must identify hidden tax risks and manage them through careful drafting of the trust document.

Listen as our experienced panel explains how to structure a joint trust that will operate in a separate property/non-community property state.



  1. Tax and non-tax considerations for utilizing a JRT in a separate property state
  2. Gift and estate tax issues to avoid in funding and administering a JRT in a separate property state
  3. Income tax issues and potential advantages of JRTs
  4. Drafting recommendations and resources


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the gift and estate tax risks to utilizing a joint revocable trust in a separate property state?
  • What are the administrative and accounting costs associated with the use of JRTs in separate property states?
  • Coordinating joint revocable trusts with credit shelter trusts
  • Drafting general power of appointment in JRTs in non-community property states


DeJong, Lauren
Lauren Evans DeJong

Of Counsel
Stahl Cowen Crowley Addis

Ms. DeJong counsels individuals with regard to estate planning, estate and trust administration, asset protection...  |  Read More

Tippett , Scott
Scott K. Tippett

The Tippett Law Firm

Mr. Tippett's practice focuses on wealth law, as a comprehensive and integrated approach to domestic and...  |  Read More

Other Formats
— Anytime, Anywhere

Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include program handouts. To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Video



CPE Not Available