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Should I make gifts to reduce my estate tax?

When it comes to handling significant resources in estate planning, it can certainly feel as though the popular saying "more money, more problems" is true. Because California has many more regulations than most other states, understanding how to navigate through the maze of laws and guidelines is a full time job. Many people find this so daunting that they simply put off dealing with it.

Putting off drafting an estate plan is never a good idea. None of us know how much time we have on Earth, and delayed peace of mind is not peace of mind at all. A common estate planning mistake, beyond simply failing to make one, is to fail to reduce estate tax by maximizing your giving.

Taking advantage of the tax breaks for personal giving is an important way to direct the power of your resources. You can either choose to give your money directly to individual causes that you support, or else hand it over to the government and see it dispersed in a thousand different directions, some of which you may not support at all. While the figures fluctuate, recent limits allowed for giving of up to $14,000 per person, per year. This mean that a married couple may give away $28,000 and enjoy the estate tax savings.

No matter where you fall on policy matters, most people would rather choose how their money gets distributed than leave that up to the government. Make sure to use the legal resources at your disposal, as well as guidance, to protect your rights and ensure that you don't miss out on important restrictions and benefits as you build the estate plan that best fits your needs.

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