The US Tax Code lets you give a gift of money, stocks, bonds, real or personal property, gift tax free, up to $14,000 a year to anyone you want. This amount is indexed for inflation and may rise in the future. A married couple can give any one person up to $28,000/year tax free. Giving away your money helps save money on estate taxes after your death. It also lets you see what your generosity does for your loved ones and people you care for while you are still living.
For example, if you decide you want to help your daughter and her husband buy their first house, you could give your daughter $14,000 and her husband $14,000, or double that amount if you are married, $28,000, to each of them. If you decided to gift the money at the end of the year, the same gift amount can be given again at the beginning of the new year. You could give your daughter and her husband as much as $112,000 tax free to apply towards the purchase of their new home or for something else, without incurring any gift taxes. If you and your spouse want to, you spouse can continue to give your daughter and her husband up to $56,000 every year, without any gift/estate tax consequences
If you are serious about using the gift tax exemption and giving away $14,000, (or $28,000 if you are married), to your loved ones on a yearly basis, you may want to set up an irrevocable trust. Please bear in mind a trust set up for the benefit of a minor must allow the minor to withdraw the money, when the minor turns 18 years of age. Many people use trusts as a way to give away their assets to their family or others and avoid probate after they pass away.
Before you decide to make a gift or set up a trust, it is recommended that you speak with a California will and trust attorney to decide on the best way to handle your gift giving and estate planning. The attorney will be able to answer your financial planning questions and help you with managing your estate assets. Please feel free to call our office at 858-792-5988 for a consultation.