Q:

Can I give all of my property away before I die and avoid estate taxes?

A:

Can I give away all my property before I die and avoid estate taxes? Well, with our exemptions at 5.49 million dollars, I’d never allow a client to give away all assets. I would only encourage them to give away assets leaving them only 5.49 million dollars because that will not be subject to estate tax. However, giving away assets in excess of that amount may use up part of that exemption. So, before engaging in a program of gifting to avoid estate taxes thoughtful analysis should be done whether or not it’s necessary to gift, or whether or not there’s another way to avoid estate taxes altogether.

Note: The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 signed into law in December 2017 increased the exemption amounts mentioned in these videos. The personal estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax lifetime exemption was increased to $11.18 million per person. The annual gift tax exclusion was increased to $15,000 per donee per year.

Both amounts are indexed for inflation and may increase year over year until December 31, 2025, when the law sunsets and reverts to 2017 values