Giving away assets during your lifetime with the goal of reducing your taxable estate can be an important planning strategy. But with recent increases in gift and estate tax exemptions, many are feeling less pressure to make these gifts. The exemption amount is now “permanent” and set to increase with inflation instead of requiring Congress to approve increases. For 2015, that exemption amount is $5,430,000.
Planning your estate around specific assets is risky and, in most cases, should be avoided. If you leave specific assets—such as homes, cars or stock—to specific people, you may inadvertently disinherit them. Here’s an example that illustrates the problem: Andrew has three children—Robert, Anna and Tim—and wishes to treat them equally in his estate plan. [...]
With the holiday season here, many people are thinking about estate planning and making year-end gifts to family members. Last year, taxpayers scrambled to make last-minute asset transfers in case the historically generous gift and estate tax exemptions expired or rates skyrocketed. This year, taxpayers face a calmer estate planning landscape because Congress passed a [...]
A qualified personal residence trust (QPRT) can be an effective tool for transferring a home to your children or other family members at the lowest possible tax cost — while continuing to live in it.
With most tax planning, there are certain strategies that are just about foolproof and shouldn’t be ignored. The same holds true for estate planning. Here are three essential estate planning strategies that will likely help you achieve your goals. 1. Take advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion Don’t underestimate the tax-saving power of the [...]
The 2012 gift tax annual exclusion allows you to give up to $13,000 per recipient tax-free without using up any of your lifetime gift tax exemption. If you and your spouse “split” the gift, you can give $26,000 per recipient. The exclusion is scheduled to increase to $14,000 ($28,000 for split gifts) in 2013. The [...]
The Internal Revenue Service issued on February 17th guidance that allows certain estates of married individuals who died during the first six months of 2011 an extension of the deadline to make the portability election. The portability election passes along a decedent’s unused estate and gift tax exclusion amount to a surviving spouse. An extension [...]
There’s no law that says you can’t prepare your own estate plan. But unless your estate is small and your plan is exceedingly simple, the pitfalls of do-it-yourself estate planning can be many. The following discussion applies equally for those who already have an estate plan put into place by a qualified estate and trust [...]