The holiday season is upon us, and loved ones are busy coming up with the perfect gifts to give family and friends. While gift giving can bring a great deal of joy, both to the recipient and the giver, did you know it can also assist in your Florida estate planning goals? It can be doubly beneficial to you and your family to make a gift that not only will help the recipient but potentially help your estate planning legacy goals as well. Let us share a few tips for you right here in our blog.
1. Give gifts of assets that do not have significant losses. When the gift is made to the beneficiary, the gift will have the basis of the donor or the fair market value of the asset. As a general rule, it is whichever amount is lower. If the asset is later sold, both parties can deduct the loss, and the beneficiary can receive the proceeds from the sale.
2. Make gifts that are naturally tax-free. It sounds unusual, but there are gifts you can make that are naturally tax-free. Tax-free gifts can include education and medical expenses. You do need to be careful before taking action, however, because not everything associated with the gift may be tax-free. Take the gift of education as an example. While tuition expenses would be tax-free, lodging expenses may not be. Further, the gift of education should not be made to the intended beneficiary, such as a grandchild. Instead, it should be paid to the institution itself.
3. Consider making the actual transfer in the new year. While it is enjoyable to give the gift of an asset or money to the beneficiary at the holiday season, that does not mean the actual transfer has to take place then. There can be substantial benefits to transferring money early in the year. For example, and perhaps most importantly, the gains can be transferred to the beneficiary who most likely has a lower tax bracket. It also avoids the lack of planning that a rushed gift can cause at the end of the year.
4. Don’t go it alone. While it is perfectly fine to make a monetary gift simply because you want to, if you have estate planning goals in mind, you should talk to your Florida estate planning attorney. Your attorney will have the experience to guide you through this process and make sure that you can achieve your goals by making this gift. You may not have thought of the three tips above and how they could impact your goals for your legacy. Your experienced Florida attorney will have this knowledge and be able to support you in making the right choices for you.
With that said, discuss your gifting plans with your experienced Florida estate and elder law planning attorney. The downside of gifts for estate planning is that it can have serious, unintended consequences when it comes to long-term care planning. Before you take action is the time to talk to your attorney to avoid jeopardizing the critical benefits you may need in the not-so-distant future. We encourage you to ask your questions now, or any time in the future. Do not wait to contact our law firm to request an appointment to get the help you need.