Is Now the Right Time to Use Your Lifetime Gift Exclusion?

If you currently own an asset that you anticipate is going to appreciate over the coming years, you may want to take advantage of exclusions that are available to you today.

The IRS has recently released guidance that indicates that you will not suffer a penalty for using up your gift exclusion exemption while you are still alive. If you pass away when an exemption is lower and had held on to an appreciated asset up to that time, the estate tax will be higher because a greater portion of the estate is taxable.

If you use up the exclusion, however, and Congress does not choose to move forward with lowering the lifetime exemption amount, you can still reap advantages from this for your loved ones because there will be less in your overall estate to be taxed when you pass away.

Remember, of course, that gifted assets do carry over a cost basis that goes to the person receiving the gift. You may be in a better position to hold on to the asset until you pass away so that your heirs can benefit from a step up in basis that it will receive in that time.

This also gives you a greater deal of security in case you were to need the money for an uncertain future, such as unexpected costs with long term care. Gifting appreciated assets is another strategy you may be able to leverage when it comes to gifting. It doesn’t sacrifice any economic security in the short term but remember that the person who receives this benefit must have the item for at least a year. Make sure you consult with your experienced estate planning lawyer to learn more about some of the strategies you can use for the purposes of protecting your estate.

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