The irrevocable charitable lead trust is a trust that cannot be amended, revised or cancelled. We would call that bullet-proof, and it would have been a good idea for preventing James Gandolfini's estate from being "whacked" by estate taxes. The financial website thestreet.com took a closer look at this powerful estate planning tool in"How to Protect Your Estate From Getting 'Whacked' Like James Gandolfini's.
This trustprovides a stream of income for a designated number of years to the specified charity. At the end of that period, the property held in trust reverts back to the donor or to the donor's designated beneficiary.
When the donor makes the gift under a charitable lead trust, he or she immediately receives a federal income tax deduction equal to the present value of the future income stream. But the donor is taxed every year on the value of the income interest that is payable to the charity.