When making plans to pass assets on to family members, it’s important to consider how estate planning can help manage the taxes associated with inheritances, says a recent article, “Here’s How the Ultra Rich Pass Wealth Tax Free to Their Heirs" from yahoo! finance. The very rich have used many strategies to pass on wealth with limited or no taxes owed, and some of these strategies can be used by regular people too.
The annual gift tax exclusion. Transferring wealth during your lifetime, rather than after your death, allows you to gift any number of people up to $17,000 each in a single year without incurring a taxable gift and having no impact on your estate and gift tax exemption. Married couples may give up to $34,000. People often use this annual exclusion for cash gifts and deposits into 529 education savings plans. These plans permit “frontloading” of up to five years’ worth of gifts into one year, which results in longer and more significant compounded growth.
Paying directly for medical care or tuition. If you wish to help a loved one pay for healthcare needs or education costs, the way to do this is to pay the institution directly. You may make unlimited payments to medical providers or educational institutions on behalf of others for qualified expenses without incurring a taxable gift or impacting your $17,000 individual gift exclusion. In addition, qualified medical expenses would be considered deductible for income tax purposes. Educational expenses are tuition, not living expenses or dorm fees. However, educational expenses aren’t limited to college and could be for a private school at the primary or high school level. Even certain daycare and afterschool activities might qualify.
Using the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. One of the best estate planning tax strategies is to gift assets you expect to have significant appreciation in the future. For example, you have a $100,000 investment in a tech start-up you believe will appreciate ten times over the next five years. Of course, gifting the $100,000 investment today makes you eat slightly into your gift and estate tax exemption. All the future appreciation of the investment is still out of your taxable estate and into the hands of your heirs—estate and gift-tax free.
Converting IRAs to Roth IRAs. The SECURE Act’s 10-year rule eliminated the ability to ‘stretch’ inherited IRAs over most beneficiary’s lifetimes. A way to preclude the tax burden on your heirs from an inherited IRA is to convert it to a Roth IRA. You’ll pay the taxes at the time of conversion, but they won’t have to pay taxes upon inheriting the IRA or any future appreciation in the account.
Implementing discount strategies. This is a complex strategy used for transferring family businesses or real estate. Discount strategies reduce the value of an interest before its transfer to its value for gift tax purposes is reduced. You maintain some control or benefit from the asset after the transfer. Examples are FLPs (Family Limited Partnerships), Limited Liability Companies (LLPs) and Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRTs).
Reference: yahoo! Finance (May 25, 2023) “Here’s How the Ultra Rich Pass Wealth Tax Free to Their Heirs”