The decedent does not have to be married for five years, just legally married at the time of death. No gift tax return is required for the marital deduction.
A QDOT is a trust that is established by a U.S. citizen decedent to protect the interests of their non-U.S. spouse. It allows the assets of the decedent to pass estate tax exempt into the QDOT through the use of the marital deduction. Assets are taxed in the estate of the second to die non-U.S. spouse.
If the decedent names their spouse as the beneficiary of an IRA, the IRA will pass to the spouse via contract, not under the marital deduction. All of the other choices are common transfer techniques under the marital deduction.
The terminal interest rule was created to prevent the use of the marital deduction if property is passed to a surviving spouse with specific instructions that contingencies or events could affect the treatment of the assets staying within the spouse's estate.
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