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Avoiding Tax Issues When Gifting to Grandchildren

Posted On: July 3, 2024

By: Todd Villarrubia

Todd M. Villarrubia, an authority in wealth planning and preservation, brings over 30 years of in-depth, experience to the complex challenges of safeguarding familial and individual wealth. Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, his expertise is not only recognized in the local community but also reverberates within the legal industry.
Estate Planning with wills and trusts
Learn how to avoid tax troubles when gifting to grandchildren and secure their future with effective estate planning strategies, such as a 529 account or trust.

Gifting to grandchildren is a wonderful way to share your wealth with young loved ones. Getting some help at the right time can help ensure that they enjoy a bright future. However, taxes may drastically reduce the inheritance they receive. That’s why tax minimization strategies are vital for making the most of your legacy.

Benefits of Gifting to Grandchildren to Avoid Tax Issues

Gifting to grandchildren can be transformative for them and their future. These gifts can make a difference, whether for education, starting a business, or simple financial stability. However, making the greatest difference will require a keen understanding of estate taxes.

Understanding Estate Taxes

Before a deceased person’s estate transfers to their inheritors, the government levies estate taxes. However, many ways exist to reduce or even avoid estate taxes altogether. Estate tax law is largely progressive and provides many allowances and deductions. In particular, accounts are available to fund your beneficiaries’ educations tax-free.

How Can 529 Accounts Help?

According to ElderLawAnswers, 529 accounts are ideal for helping your inheritors afford education. These special savings accounts are designed for college education expenses, K-12 tuition, apprenticeship programs and student loan repayments, and they offer significant tax advantages. The money you put into a 529 account grows tax-free, and withdrawals for qualified education expenses are also tax-free.

However, the disadvantage of a 529 account is that it only covers education-related expenses. General-purpose gifting has significant limits if you want to avoid a large tax burden.

What are the Limits on Gifting?

The IRS places annual limits on gifting to grandchildren, the annual gift tax exclusion. As of 2024, you can give up to $18,000 per year to each grandchild without incurring any gift taxes. If you stay within these limits, you won't have to pay gift taxes or worry about reducing your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption.

Should You Consider a Trust to Avoid Tax Issues?

Another strategy to reduce or avoid tax issues is setting up a trust. You can structure trusts to manage your assets to meet specific goals. By implementing a trust, you can decide how and when your grandchildren receive their inheritance. This is particularly useful if they are young or not yet financially responsible.

What are the Types of Trusts?

There are various types of trusts to consider, such as:

  • Revocable Trusts: These allow you to maintain control over the assets and make changes as needed.
  • Irrevocable Trusts: These remove the assets from your estate, potentially reducing estate taxes. However, you cannot change the terms once it's set up.
  • Education Trusts: Specifically designed to fund education expenses, similar to 529 accounts but with more flexibility.

Do Right by Your Loved Ones

Gifting to your grandchildren is a loving and generous act. However, you should gift wisely to minimize your tax burden. Contact our law firm today to learn more about estate taxes and the best strategies for gifting to grandchildren.

Key Takeaways to Avoid Tax Issues

  • 529 Accounts: Fund a loved one’s education with tax-free growth.
  • Annual Gift Tax Exclusion: Gift up to $18,000 per year to each grandchild without incurring gift taxes.
  • Trusts: Consider different types of trusts to manage and distribute assets effectively.

Reference: ElderLawAnswers (Jul. 12, 2018) Using 529 Plans for a Grandchild's Higher Education

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