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  • Northern Virginia Trusts & Estates

The Benefits of Gifting Programs for Estate Planning in Virginia

Numerous individuals intend to transfer their wealth and assets to their dear ones after they pass on. Yet, if your estate is substantial, it's crucial to prepare with estate planning and contemplate a strategy that blends lifetime gifting with bequests upon your passing. This approach safeguards the complete transmission of your accumulated lifelong savings to your beneficiaries, averting the potential imposition of federal estate taxes, commonly called "death taxes," upon your death. It may seem morbid but please continue on about estate taxes and practical techniques for devising your estate legacy.

Gift/Estate Tax Exemption

The gift and estate tax exemption denotes the sum you can transfer, either during your lifetime or upon your passing, without incurring gift or estate tax liabilities. As of 2023, this exemption is $12.92 million ($25.84 million for married couples). Lifetime gifts falling outside the scope of the aforementioned annual exclusion will diminish the available gift and estate tax exemption for the time of your demise. Qualified gifting refers to the complete and irreversible transfer of assets between individuals, where the giver receives no reciprocation. Specific IRS provisions permit tax-free execution of such gifts, contingent upon their valuation remaining within stipulated federal limits (currently $17,000 per person per year in 2023). Surpassing these permissible thresholds necessitates you, as the donor, to report the gift to the IRS and fulfill a federal gift tax obligation. To effectively employ gifting as a tool for estate planning, meticulous strategizing, and well-timed execution are essential. By doing so, you and your loved ones can minimize potential estate-related tax burdens.

Three Exceptions

Specific gifting scenarios exist that fall outside the scope of the previously mentioned limitations:

  1. Spousal gifts - If both partners are U.S. citizens, they can make unlimited lifetime gifts to each other without being subject to gift taxes.

  2. Medical and educational gifts - Direct payments towards medical services or educational expenses (such as tuition) for a dependent or beneficiary are not counted in your cumulative lifetime gifting amount. For instance, if you directly settle a family member's hospital bill with the hospital, you can still offer your loved one up to $16,000 per year as a tax-free gift. Adopting this estate gifting approach also reduces your overall taxable estate.

  3. Charitable gifts - Gifts extended to qualifying entities like charitable organizations, religious or educational establishments, government bodies, and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations are exempt from gift taxes.

Talk to an Estate Planning Firm

If you're contemplating offering gifts to diminish your taxable estate, engaging with a seasoned attorney is advisable. They can provide insights into federal gift tax regulations and shed light on the broader ramifications of gifting over one's lifetime. Collaborating with your estate planning lawyer, you can devise a well-structured gifting strategy to reduce your taxable estate while ensuring your financial well-being. Numerous individuals in the Northern Virginia and Fairfax County regions opt for the comprehensive services of Northern Virginia Trusts & Estates for their estate planning requirements, regardless of the scope. Arrange a complimentary consultation today to explore your options further!

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