Instead of giving your children or grandchildren a trendy gift this holiday season that will soon lose its value and appeal, consider creating a legacy gift instead.
The annual federal gift tax exclusion allows an individual to gift up to $15,000 (or $30,000 if spouses elect to split gifts) in 2018 to as many people as he or she wishes, free of gift taxes and without those gifts counting against the donor’s $11.18 million lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. Maximizing the use of your annual exclusion amount can be a powerful estate planning technique. For instance, if a donor and her spouse were to transfer $30,000 to a child on the day he was born and on every subsequent birthday until the child reached age 18, then at age 18 the child would have received about $540,000, plus income and appreciation.
For the wealthy, annual gifting is highly recommended, as it can effectively reduce the donor's taxable estate by removing the value of the gifts therefrom, as well as all the future income and appreciation associated with those gifts. Depending upon the size of their families, parents and grandparents can make annual gifts to their children and grandchildren that may easily exceed $100,000 per year, without incurring a gift tax or reducing their lifetime exemption amount. When making these annual gifts, the donor must decide whether or not to make an outright gift. However, when gifting to a minor, an outright gift of any substantial size is almost never advisable. Accordingly, the donor should consider alternative methods that offer continued control in order to preserve the gift and allow it to appreciate for the benefit of the minor. The Crummey trust and the 2503(c) trust are two of the most commonly utilized methods for making annual exclusion gifts to minors and other beneficiaries.
Please contact us to learn more about establishing a Crummey or 2503(c) trust this holiday season.