What Is a Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT)?
A Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT) is a specific type of irrevocable trust that allows its creator
to remove a personal home from his or her estate for the purpose of reducing the amount of gift tax that is
incurred when transferring assets to a beneficiary.
Qualified Personal Residence Trusts allow for the owner of the residence to remain living on the property
for a period of time with "retained interest" in the house; once that period is over, the interest remaining
is transferred to the beneficiaries as "remainder interest."
Depending on the length of the trust, the value of the property during the retained interest period is
calculated based on Applicable Federal Rates that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides. Because the
owner retains a fraction of the value, the gift value of the property is lower than its fair market value,
thus lowering its incurred gift tax. This tax can also be lowered with a unified credit.
How a Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT) Works
A qualified personal residence trust can be useful when the trust expires prior to the death of the
grantor. If the grantor dies before the term, the property is included in the estate and is subject to tax.
The risk lies in determining the length of the trust agreement, coupled with the likelihood that the grantor
will pass away before the expiration date. Theoretically, longer-term trusts benefit from smaller remainder
interest given to the beneficiaries, which in turn reduces the gift tax; however, this is only advantageous
to younger trust holders who have a lower possibility of passing away prior to the trust end date.
A QPRT allows you to remove your home from the estate to reduce gift taxes.
Property value during the retained interest period is calculated based on IRS Applicable Federal Rates.
Other types of trusts include a bare trust and a charitable remainder trust.
QPRT and Other Trust Forms
Many different types of trusts exist in addition to a qualified personal residence trust. Two additional
ones are a bare trust and a charitable remainder trust. In a bare trust, the beneficiary has the absolute
right to the trust’s assets (both financial and non-financial, such as real estate and collectibles), as
well as the income generated from these assets (such as rental income from properties or bond interest).
In a charitable remainder trust, a donor may provide an income interest to a non-charitable beneficiary with
the remainder of the trust going to a charitable organization. The CRAT and CRUT are two types of charitable
In both instances, the donor receives an income tax deduction from the present value of the remainder
The Pros and Cons of Qualified Personal Residence Trusts
Benefits of Using a QPRT
Removes the value of your primary or secondary residence, and all future appreciation, from your taxable
estate at cents on the dollar. If a home is worth $500,000, depending on interest rates, a homeowner's
age, and the retained income period chosen for the QPRT, the homeowner could use as little as $100,000 of
his or her lifetime gift tax exemption, to remove a $500,000 asset from his or her taxable estate. This is
particularly beneficial if the value of the house increases significantly, say, to $800,000, by the time
the homeowner dies.
Allows continued use of the residence and tax benefits. During the retained income period of the QPRT, the
homeowner can continue living in the residence rent-free and may take all applicable income tax
Hedges against possible decreases in lifetime gift tax exemption and estate tax exemption. If the value of
your home is significant, then the current lifetime gift tax exemption of $5,340,000 will let you
establish a QPRT without having to pay any gift taxes. And if in the future the estate tax exemption is
reduced significantly, say down to $1,000,000, then you will have locked in the value of your residence
for gift and estate tax purposes, and you consequently won't have to worry about how much the house will
appreciate in value or what the estate tax exemption will be, at the time of your death.
Creates a legacy for your family. If you want your home to remain in the family for generations to come, a
QPRT will let you to pass on the residence to your heirs in a manner that will encourage them to hold on
to it for the long haul.
Paying rent at the end of the retained income period will help to further reduce your taxable estate. When
the retained income period of the QPRT ends, you must pay fair market rent to your heirs, in order to
continue using the residence. While this may initially seem like a downside to using QPRT's, it actually
allows you to give more to your heir—without using annual exclusion gifts or more of your lifetime gift
Risks Associated With Using a QPRT
Selling a home owned by a QPRT can be difficult. If circumstances change and you want to sell the
residence owned by the QPRT, this could get thorny. You either must either invest the sale proceeds into a
new home or take payments of the sale proceeds in the form of an annuity, if you don't wish to purchase a
Heirs will inherit the residence with your income tax basis at the time of the gift into the QPRT. An heir
who sells the home after the retained income period ends will owe capital gains taxes based on the
difference between your income tax basis at the time of the gift into the QPRT, and the price of the sale.
This is why a QPRT is ideal for a residence the heirs plan to keep in the family, for many generations.
But keep in mind: with the estate tax rate currently at 40% and the top capital gains rate currently at
20%, the capital gains impact may be significantly less than the estate tax impact.
When the retained income period ends, you'll have to pay rent to use the residence. Once the retained
income period ends, ownership of the residence passes to your heirs, removing your right to live in the
residence rent-free. You must instead pay your heirs fair market rent if you wish to continue occupying
the residence for an extended period of time. But, as mentioned above: this potential drawback can be
turned into a benefit, by letting you give more to your heirs in a gift tax-free manner.
When the retained income period ends, you may lose property tax benefits. Once the retained income period
ends, there may be negative property tax consequences. For example, the home will be reassessed at its
current fair market value for real estate tax purposes. Also, you would lose any property tax benefits
associated with owning and occupying the property as your primary residence. In Florida, the home may lose
its homestead status for both creditor protection and property tax purposes, unless one or more of the
heirs make the home their primary residence.
If you die before the retained income period ends, the QPRT transaction will be completely undone. If you
die before the retained income period ends, the entire QPRT transaction will be undone and the value of
the residence will be included in your taxable estate at its full fair market value on the date of your