It’s imperative that noncitizen US residents understand the function and importance of the QDOT, particularly in states such as Massachusetts where there is a lower threshold for state estate taxes.
If you are married and your spouse in not a US citizen, it is important to be aware of the qualified domestic trust (QDOT) – a technique to help manage estate taxes. While transfers to your surviving spouse typically qualify for an unlimited marital deduction, that deduction is available (except in certain limited circumstances) only if your surviving spouse is a US citizen. Therefore, without proper planning, assets you leave to your noncitizen surviving spouse do not qualify for the unlimited marital deduction and are taxed at your death as if they had been left to any other nonspouse beneficiary. The QDOT allows you to leave assets to your noncitizen surviving spouse so that the transfer qualifies for the unlimited marital deduction.