Ahh, it is that time of year. A time for memory making with loved ones, cookies, and holiday
gifts. A true gift is given with an open mind and giving heart. No matter the size of the gift, it
is only a true gift, in the spirit of the season, if it is given with love and generosity. It is better
to give a small gift without reserve, than a larger gift with resentment or regret. So, think about
what gift is just right for you and your loved ones.
Giving the gift of an experience is truly the most valuable gift of all. Taking a spouse to the city
for a special candlelit dinner, sponsoring a multi-generational family vacation, or paying for your
grandchild’s “People to People” trip to Europe are true memory makers.
Another remarkable gift is a gift with sentimental value. My favorite example is my client who
gave his grandson the dinner bell which the grandson had rung each and every Sunday for his
entire life. That boy will never forget his grandfather or the special dinners that they shared
together as a family.
Give the gift of personal growth. Happiness, wealth, and personal development books, DVDs,
or seminars are gifts that have the potential to change your loved one’s life forever. Remember
the proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him
for a lifetime.”
Cash is king to many. If you wish to gift cash or investments, you may give up to $13,000
per calendar year to absolutely anyone, even the paper boy, without incurring any gift tax
consequences. So, you could give $13,000 to each child in December and then again in January.
And, for larger gifts, you can “split gifts” with your spouse, meaning that you and your spouse
can together give $26,000 to each person on your gift list. You can gift over this limitation by
paying tuition or medical expenses directly to the provider. If you would like to make large
gifts such as these, gifting into a trust that is protected from lawsuits, spendthrift spending, and
addictions is an important consideration.
If you have any questions about your estate planning please feel free to call my office at (858) 792-5988.