Maximize Your Wealth as a Couple: The Power of a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT)

Estate planning can feel overwhelming, but for married couples with significant assets, a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) can be a powerful tool to maximize your wealth and minimize future tax burdens. Let's delve into how a SLAT works and how it can benefit you.

What is a SLAT?

Imagine a trust designed to benefit your spouse while strategically reducing your taxable estate. That's the essence of a SLAT. You, the donor spouse, transfer assets (cash, investments, etc.) to the trust for the benefit of your spouse, the beneficiary spouse. The key here is that that the trust is irrevocable. Once assets are placed in the SLAT, you relinquish control. However, the trust is crafted to provide your spouse with access to the income and, principal of the trust for your spouse's health, education, maitenance and support.

Maximizing Wealth with a SLAT

SLATs offer several advantages for wealth maximization:

  • Reduce Taxable Estate: By transferring assets to the SLAT, you effectively remove them from your taxable estate. This can significantly reduce your estate tax liability when you pass away.
  • Utilize Lifetime Gift Exemption: The IRS allows a generous gift tax exemption (currently $13.61 million per person in 2024). A SLAT allows you to leverage this exemption by gifting assets to the trust without incurring gift taxes.
  • Continued Access for Spouse: While you give up control, the trust can be designed to provide your spouse with income for their needs and maintain your standard of living. A SLAT can allow access to the principal under certain circumstances.
  • Generational Wealth Transfer: The SLAT can be structured to benefit your children or grandchildren after your spouse's passing. This allows you to strategically transfer wealth to future generations while minimizing tax impact.

Before You Leap: Considerations for SLATs

While beneficial, SLATs aren't a one-size-fits-all solution. Here are some things to consider:

  • Irrevocable Commitment: Once assets are in the trust, you can't get them back. Make sure you're comfortable relinquishing control.
  • Legal and Financial Expertise: Setting up a SLAT involves legal and financial expertise. Seek guidance from an estate planning attorney and a financial advisor. 


A SLAT can be a valuable tool for married couples seeking to maximize their wealth and minimize estate taxes. However, careful planning and professional guidance are crucial. If you have a substantial estate and want to explore wealth preservation strategies, discuss a SLAT with your financial advisor and estate planning attorney. Remember, a well-crafted estate plan can ensure your legacy benefits your loved ones for generations to come. Contact our Chesterfield Estate Planning Attorneys to learn more. 

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