Your End of the Year Estate Planning To Do List | New 2018 Gift Tax and Estate Tax Updates

As we enter into the final month of 2017, it is vital to start your end-of-year tasks if you haven’t already. As I tell many clients, this should include your estate planning review and gifts to your children and grandchildren.

However, there are two important tax law changes coming in 2018. First, the annual gift tax exclusion is being raised from $14,000 to $15,000. This means that starting in 2018 a person can gift away $15,000 to anyone they want per year, or $30,000 of jointly held assets with a spouse without any gift tax consequences. Although, this rule is often confusing. This does not mean $15,000 total, but means $15,000 per person.

For Example, John and Jane have three children, Joe, John Jr., and Susan. John and Jane can give $30,000 to Joe, $30,000 to John Jr., and $30,000 to Susan each year and reduce their taxable estate by $90,000 each year.

Another important change in 2018 to the estate and gift tax rules include the raising of the federal estate tax exemption from $5.49 million to $5.6 million. This means that the first $5.6 million of assets that are transferred at death will pass tax free. However, portability may still be elected in 2018, leaving a married couple with the option to pass up to $11.2 million to their heirs’ tax free.

Your First Item On Your End of the Year To Do List for Your Estate Planning Should Include Completing Those Annual Gifts. However, for 2017, It Is Still $14,000. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make Sure Your Children Cash or Deposit Those Checks. Otherwise, The IRS May Argue That The Gift Was Not Completed!

Your Second Item On Your To Do List Should Be Regarding Your Own Estate Planning Updates … Is It Time to Update From a Will to a Trust?

Listed below are some of the ways that upgrading your estate plan from a Will to Trust could provide to your family …

  • Provides In Home Healthcare Instructions Which Can Someday Help Avoid Unnecessary Placement in a Nursing Home


  • Provides Continuity in Handling of Your Affairs By More Efficiently Transferring Your Property To Your Loved Ones


  • Fully Avoids Probate Upon Your Death, and Avoids Court Conservatorship and Guardianship Upon Your Disability, As To All Assets That Are In Trust


  • Provides Prenuptial Protection For Your Spouse and Children and in the Event Your Surviving Spouse Chooses to Remarry After Your Death, It Can Help Assure That your Estate Passes to Your Children, and Not the New Spouse


  • Easily Moves With You From State to State


  • Allows You to Choose Guardians For Your Minor Children


  • Creates Trusts for Your Loved Ones That Are Free From the Supervision of the Probate Court


  • Is Difficult for Disgruntled Heirs to Attack


  • Helps to Assure Family’s Privacy Following Your Disability or Death


  • Helps to Achieve Your Death Tax, Income Tax, and Capital Gains Tax Objectives and Reduce After-Death Administrative Expenses


  • Provides Comfort To Your Loved Ones During Their Period of Grief and Spares Them Any Unnecessary Emotional or Financial Hardship Should You Become Incapacitated or At The Time of Your Death


  • Helps to Assure That Your Estate Assets Will Pass to the Individuals of Your Choice


  • Passes Assets More Quickly to Your Loved Ones Upon Your Death, Avoiding Some of the Delays, Hassles, and Paperwork Involved in the Probate Process


  • Protects Children’s Inheritance From Divorcing Spouses, Creditors, Lawsuits, and Other Predators, Ensuring That Your Assets and Inheritance Remain With Your Children As You Have Always Intended


  • Ensures That Your IRA Receives the Most Tax Efficient and Beneficial Distribution to Enhance the Value of the IRA Over Their Lifetimes


DON’T FORGET … In 2010, the Supreme Court Took Away Asset Protection for Your Heirs … An IRA Trust Can Continue to Provide That Protection To Your Children and Heirs!

With all these issues and potential problems that you could be leaving behind for your family, why would you leave planning your estate (or updating your estate) to chance by not performing your annual review? Make it your gift to your family this holiday season by providing them with the protection they deserve. Plan your estate today, so you can leave a lasting legacy tomorrow! Call us today at (615) 490-0477 to schedule you initial Legacy Planning Strategy Session.

Not Ready to Schedule Your Legacy Planning Strategy Session? No Problem! Click Here to Download Our Free Report on Estate Planning for Tennessee Families!






Daniel A. Perry
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Focused on helping seniors, individuals with disabilities and small business owners make informed decisions.
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