How to transfer wealth and provide for your loved ones
You may have very specific ideas about how you want to distribute your assets to your family and other beneficiaries. By making plans now, you can control what happens to your wealth when you're gone.
Here are some ways to transfer wealth while minimizing estate taxes.
A will is a document containing your instructions and wishes as to how your property and assets are to be distributed after your death. A will is a good option for transferring wealth after you die and is a basic estate plan. However, with a will your estate will go into probate and can be subject to estate taxes.
You can also make a gift or transfer assets to children or other beneficiaries during your lifetime and help reduce your taxable estate. You may gift up to $13,000 per recipient per year tax-free. Or, $26,000 per recipient for married couples if you combine gifts. Additional gifts will require you to file a gift tax return.
Medical or Education Gifting
If you pay someone's medical or education expenses directly to the service provider, you make this payment as an extra gift. For example, if you write a check for tuition directly to a grandchild's school, you can still gift that grandchild the annual per recipient amount.
529 College Plans Gifting
You can contribute to a child or grandchild's 529 college savings plan as your annual gift up to the annual gifting amount. You can even make up to five year's worth of annual gifts in one year ($65,000 per person or $130,000 per couple) to one person.
A trust may help you meet your estate planning goals. There are several types of trusts - such as Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, Charitable Remainder Trusts and Revocable Living Trusts - that can help you transfer your wealth, and also keep part of your estate out of probate and minimize estate taxes.