When you plan for your estate, much of it involves planning where and to whom assets are to go after you pass. If a will is used to pass your estate, it will all go through Probate. To find out more about what that means, watch this video:
But some people want to see their plans of giving start before that time so that their loved ones can enjoy their generosity before the end. So how do you begin moving the estate within your own lifetime?
A recent article in Forbes titled “Best Ways To Give Your Heirs Money While You're Alive,” explored this subject.
The short answer is “giving” while you are living. However, there are certain limitations to giving, largely because of a screen of taxation. You want to duck under the gift tax itself, most likely, which means giving less than the annual exclusion (i.e., currently $14,000 per child). In addition, you may want to consider leveraging your lifetime gift/estate tax exemption to its greatest effect.
To make already complicated matters a bit more complicated, don’t forget there also are taxes based on to whom you are giving. For example, there is the generation-skipping transfer tax and, with certain assets, the kiddie tax.
To be sure, lifetime wealth transfers can be a great benefit to those on either end – the givers and the receivers. Seek qualified professional counsel in advance to ensure that all is done according to Hoyle.
Reference: Forbes (June 18, 2013) “Best Ways To Give Your Heirs Money While You're Alive”