Crummey and Defective Means FABULOUS!
Crummey powers (named after a man named Crummey whose successful lawsuit validated the technique) are used in connection with Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs) in order to have gifts to the trust qualify for the gift tax annual exclusion. The exclusion is currently $12,000 per donor per donee per year and is indexed for inflation. Only gifts of a “present interest” qualify for the exclusion, and, without Crummey powers, gifts to an ILIT would otherwise be deemed to be gifts of a “future interest”, since the very essence of a trust is to defer enjoyment of the property in the trust until some future time.
Crummey powers need to be carefully drafted and implemented, and we here at Provada are intimately familiar with exactly what is needed in order to make them fully effective. The holders of Crummey powers are typically the primary beneficiaries of a trust, but sometimes these powers need to be given to secondary beneficiaries as well in order to have enough annual exclusions to cover the full life insurance premiums. This can be accomplished by following the “Cristofani” guidelines (Cristofani was another successful taxpayer), and also requires careful drafting and implementation. We are also knowledgeable in this area.