The Risks of SLATs

SLATs, like other trusts, have certain risks. If a SLAT is not properly established, it could be contested by creditors and would-be heirs.

How SLATs Are Challenged

Undue Influence

A SLAT could be contested if an interested party believes the grantor spouse was coerced or otherwise pressured into establishing the trust.


California law presumes that most adults have the mental capacity to write a will or establish a trust. However, persons of advanced age or with certain mental conditions may be presumed of “unsound mind” and, therefore, incapable of making informed estate-related decisions.


A SLAT may be found fraudulent if the court is provided compelling evidence to suggest that any of the SLAT’s documents were forged or amended without the grantor or trustee’s authorization.

Deciding If a SLAT Is Right for You

A SLAT is an inexpensive and flexible estate planning tool for married couples who want to want to work as a team and shelter certain assets.

Who Should Create a SLAT

  • High-net-worth individuals seeking to shield real properties and other valuables from estate taxes
  • Married couples seeking to establish an intergenerational legacy
  • Individuals with comprehensive estate plans who want to use their estate and federal gift tax exemptions to benefit their spouse and provide an inheritance for their children or other loved ones

However, a SLAT should only be one part of a comprehensive estate plan. While a SLAT has definite tax benefits and risk management advantages, it may not be sufficient to keep an estate out of probate.

Even if you already have a will, a trust, and other estate planning documents, you should still consult an attorney to ensure that your legacy is guaranteed.



Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.