Charitable Lead Unitrust Case Study

newest logo spread larger

(317) 268-8880

Free In-Depth Tax Analysis

Charitable Lead Uni-trust Case Study

Charitable Lead UnitrustEstate Plan Concerns

Bob would like to make a large gift to his children, and perhaps include his grandchildren. The asset that Bob has in mind is presently worth $1,000,000, but is expected to grow in value at a high rate (9%) and produce significant income (5%) for the foreseeable future.

► Estate Tax Savings Would Use Entire Exemption

He has been informed that gifting this type of asset, now, could save a large amount of estate taxes at his death. However, he also is aware that such a large gift would require him to use his entire $1,000,000 lifetime gift tax exemption to avoid gift tax, and he wonders whether there might be a better way to transfer the asset to his family.

► Charitable Interest, Too

Bob also is interested in providing financial support for his favorite charity.

Estate Plan Solution

After some consideration, Bob decides to implement a planning technique known as a Charitable Lead Unitrust (CLUT). Bob will create an irrevocable trust for the benefit of his favorite charity and his children.

► Charity Receives Percentage od Assts for Fixed Period

An amount will be paid annually to the charity for a specified period (Bob chose 14 years). This amount will be determined annually by multiplying the current value of the CLUT’s assets by a percentage (Bob chose 12%).

► Remaining Assets Distributed or Retained in Trust

At the end of this period, the charity’s interest ends and the remaining assets are distributed to Bob’s children (or retained in trust for their benefit).

Charitable Lead Unitrust Process

Charitable Lead Unitrust Process

Charitable Lead Unitrust Process

  1. Bill creates an irrevocable trust, known as a Charitable Lead Unitrust, or “CLUT”, under which his favorite charity will receive a stream of income, based on a percentage of the value of the trust assets, for a period of 14 years. The remaining trust assets at the end of this period will be transferred to Bob’s family (or retained in trust for their benefit).
  2. Upon creation of the trust, Bob transfers a selected asset to the trustee of the CLUT. For federal gift tax purposes, the amount gifted to the CLUT is divided into 2 separate gifts, based on IRS actuarial tables. The charity’s portion is gift tax free. The family’s portion is a taxable gift ($167,016), which can be sheltered from gift tax by Bob’s gift tax exemption.
  3. The charity receives an annual payment from the CLUT for 14 years, determined by multiplying the value of the trust assets by 12%. At the end of this period, the charity’s interest in the trust ends.
  4. When the charity’s interest ends, the assets are transferred, estate and gift tax free, to Bob’s family outright or retained in trust for their benefit.


  • Charity Served: Income stream for grantor’s favorite charity (which could include grantor’s private foundation).
  • Tax Reduction When Assets Transferred: Assets eventually transferred to children with estate and gift taxes reduced or eliminated.
  • Multiple Generations Served: Unlike a CLAT (Charitable Lead Annuity Trust), a CLUT can be used effectively with “generation skipping” planning to benefit multiple generations of the grantor’s family without estate taxes or generation skipping transfer taxes
  • Integrates with Other Techniques: Can be used with certain other planning techniques to further reduce gift and estate taxes.


A Charitable Lead Unitrust (CLUT) is a special type of irrevocable “split interest” trust in which an income stream, based on a percentage of the value of the trust assets, is payable to a qualifying charity for a specified period of time, with the remainder of the trust’s assets to be transferred to one or more non-charitable beneficiaries (e.g., the grantor’s children or grandchildren) after the charity’s income interest ends.

► Significant Tax Reduction When Assets Transferred

Creative use of the CLUT offers the potential for significant estate and gift tax savings. Properly designed, the CLUT allows the grantor (i.e., creator) of the trust to accomplish philanthropic goals (which could include funding his or her own private foundation) and eventually transfer a large amount of wealth to his or her family, free of estate and gift taxes. It is possible to design the trust to provide income tax benefits for the grantor; however, tax planning with the CLUT typically focuses on minimizing or eliminating estate and gift taxes on the trust assets transferred to the grantor’s family.

► Offers Asset Growth Potential and Flexibility

Generally, the trust should be funded with assets that can produce a substantial stream of income, while having strong potential for significant future growth in value. Note that this technique can be implemented either during the grantor’s lifetime or at the grantor’s death (via a testamentary trust). Other planning techniques may be used with the CLUT to enhance charitable benefits and the amount of wealth that is ultimately transferred to the children.

► Calculations Will Vary According to Current Market

Unless otherwise stated, actuarial calculations are based on the assumptions that the client is 65 years old and the Applicable Federal Rate (AFR) is 5.00%.

Previous: Charitable Lead Annuity Trust Case Study
Next: Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust Case Study

Tax Reduction Formulas To Protect Your Future

Periodic Table of Estate Planning ElementsWe provide unique tax minimization formulas, based on a customized strategic combination of IRS-approved investment programs and technical tools, which lead to maximum asset protection, to defend against the many known and unknown volatile forces that risk the prosperous future you and your heirs desire and deserve.

View our Estate Planning Periodic Table to see the many options we have available to custom-design an estate plan that exactly meets your specific goals for the future.


The following notice is required by the IRS: Any U.S. Federal tax advice contained in this communication is not intended to be written or used, and cannot be used or relied upon, to avoid tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or to promote, market or recommend to another any tax-related matter addressed herein.

Read More Stories

Back to Case Studies

© Custom Structured Settlements, LLC 2017