Crummey Trusts: A Strategic Approach to Gifting for Your Children’s Future

Gold Leaf Estate Planning, LLC

POSTED ON: March 29, 2024
Crummey Trusts
Learn how to qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion by maximizing the benefits of a Crummey trust. Understand withdrawal power and more.

If you’re looking for ways to pass wealth on to children or grandchildren, one valuable tool to consider may be the Crummey Trust. Named after the famous tax case that examined this approach, the Crummey Trust offers a way to gift money to minors while enjoying significant tax advantages and maintaining control over the funds’ distribution.

Understanding Crummey Trusts

A Crummey Trust allows you to gift assets to minors without those gifts being subject to gift tax up to a certain amount annually. As of 2024, you can give up to $18,000 annually to a minor through a Crummey Trust without incurring gift tax or affecting your lifetime gift tax exemption. This type of trust is particularly appealing because it prevents the minor from gaining direct access to the funds until they reach an age where they can manage the money responsibly.

The Mechanics of Crummey Trusts

A Crummey Trust operates on the concept of “present interest” gifts. For a gift to qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion, the recipient must have the right to use, possess, or enjoy the gift immediately. These trusts meet this requirement by allowing the beneficiary a temporary right to withdraw the gifted amount, typically within a 30-day window after the gift is made. If the withdrawal right is not exercised, the funds remain in the trust, subject to the terms set by the grantor.

Considerations and Challenges

While Crummey Trusts offer many advantages, they also require diligent record-keeping and clear communication with beneficiaries about their rights. Additionally, as beneficiaries age, they may choose to exercise their withdrawal rights, which could impact the grantor’s willingness to continue making gifts to the trust.

Key Takeaways

  • Tax Efficiency: Crummey Trusts allow for tax-efficient gifting to minors, utilizing the annual gift tax exclusion to reduce the size of the taxable estate.
  • Control Over Funds: Grantors can set terms for how and when the funds can be used, ensuring that the money is spent in ways that align with their wishes, such as for education or healthcare.
  • Flexibility: Unlike other trusts or custodial accounts, there is no requirement for the funds to be distributed at a certain age, allowing for greater flexibility in planning for the beneficiary’s future.


Crummey Trusts represent a strategic option for those looking to gift assets to minors while maintaining control over the distribution of those assets and optimizing tax benefits. By understanding the unique features and requirements of these trusts, you can make informed decisions that align with your estate planning goals and provide for your loved ones’ futures.

Reference: ElderLawAnswers “Crummey Trust: A Safe Way to Give Financial Gifts to Minors”