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How To Spread The Wealth Through A Living Trust & Other Methods

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: December 10, 2013

Gift-giving can allow you to reduce your taxable estate and help your beneficiaries before you’re gone. There are several ways to give gifts to family, friends or charitable organizations without getting hit with large tax penalties.

Designating these gifts while you are still alive allows you to carry out your specific wishes, keep your money free of tax burden in many cases, and also avoid leaving assets tied up in probate.

  • Gifts—You can give up to $14,000 a year in cash or assets to as many people as you’d like without having to file a gift-tax return.
  • Medical and Educational expenses—If you pay the money directly to the institution to which it is owed, you can pay for an unlimited amount of medical or educational expenses to any individual.
  • 529 College savings plans—You can put up to $70,000 in one year in a 529 college savings plan as an individual, or up to $140,000 with a spouse.
  • Charitable gift funds—These funds allow you to make a tax-free contribution and then grow your gift before donating it to an organization. Make sure the organization is eligible to receive tax-free gifts.
  • Charitable lead and remainder trusts—These trusts let you designate a gift from which your heirs can receive either the principal or the income and the charity, the other.

The more you can do with your estate while you are still around to make decisions and act on them, the fewer decisions your family will have to make later.

Over the past 27 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped more than 900 clients prepare and utilize simple and effective planning techniques to protect them and their families in order to avoid probate, save estate taxes, save money and save added emotional burden that comes from long term illness and/or death of a family member. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your family.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More