While the holiday season may be the busiest time of year, it’s a great time to take a look at your financial and estate planning.
As the year comes to an end, consider making gifts to lower your tax liability, and start planning for any gifts you might want to make during the next calendar year. In 2018, individuals can give up to $15,000 to each recipient, with no limit on the number of gifts. Married couples can combine their gifts, allowing them to give up to $30,000 to each individual. Keep in mind there is a lifetime limit for tax-exempt gifting; in 2018, that limit is $11.2 million dollars, an amount that most taxpayers will never reach.
Some gifts are gift-tax exempt; that is, a person can give as much as they want without concern for being hit with taxes. Gifts that fall under this exemption are donations to qualified charities, and gifts made directly to an educational institution for another’s tuition or to a healthcare provider for the care of another.
This is also a good time to review your estate planning documents. A lot can change both financially and personally over the course of a year. Consider the following questions: Have investments or assets been sold or acquired? Are there new beneficiaries who should be included an estate plan? Have relationships changed with any designated surrogates, trustees, or executors, or have any passed away? If the answer to any of these is ‘yes,’ changes to an estate plan are likely in order.
Start the New Year off right with a visit to an experienced trusts and estates attorney to review, and possibly update, estate-planning documents.