Qualified Personal Residence Trusts significantly reduce estate taxes that will be assessed on a personal residence. For married couples, I often recommend that the husband and wife each transfer a 50% interest in the residence to separate QPRTs. When both spouses establish separate trusts, you hedge the mortality risk associated with QPRTs. The other benefit from separate QPRTs was demonstrated by the recent Ludwick case in which the husband and wife each transferred 50% of their $7 million Hawaiian home to a separate QPRT. The court ruled that the value of each 50% interest was 17% less than 50% of the value of the entire home. The 17% fractional interest discount significantly reduced the gift tax cost of establishing the QPRTs.
There is also a way to take advantage of fractional interest QPRTs when it is not possible or practical to establish separate husband and wife QPRTs. One person can establish two separate QPRTs with different terms, for example, 6 years and 8 years, and transfer a 50% interest to the two separate QPRTs.
My clients seldom establish QPRTs for their Tennessee residences because they do not want to pay Tennessee gift taxes. Therefore, most QPRTs that my clients establish are for vacation homes located in other states. Generally, QPRTS in other states do not generate any federal or state gift taxes.
If you are buying an expensive home in Tennessee or elsewhere, there is a technique called a joint purchase trust that can be used without any gift taxes having to be paid. Joint purchase trusts have a lot in common with QPRTs. However, they must be established prior to purchasing the home.