Transferring wealth or assets between individuals or entities is called wealth transfer. The transfer can happen either during your lifetime or after your death. Wealth transfer strategies use various methods to create the most tax-efficient and effective reorganization of assets. Below are some popular wealth transfer strategies.
Gift giving involves giving a gift of cash, securities, real estate, or personal property to specific people. The annual gift tax exclusion allows an individual to give up to a certain amount, tax-free, to any number of recipients. In 2023, the annual exclusion is $17,000. This means you can give up to $17,000 per person per year to as many different people as you wish without incurring any gift tax liability. The annual exclusion amount is subject to change, so check with the IRS before making gifts.
Trusts are legal entities that can hold and manage assets for the benefit of designated beneficiaries. There are many different types of trusts, including revocable and irrevocable trusts. Revocable trusts allow the creator to retain control of the assets during their lifetime and can be changed or canceled at any time.
Irrevocable trusts, on the other hand, can’t be changed or revoked once established. They can protect assets from creditors, reduce estate taxes, and provide for beneficiaries. Irrevocable trusts are a good option for people who want to qualify for Medicaid benefits and preserve assets from being spent on long-term care. They may also be used for people who have family members with disabilities to offer additional financial support without jeopardizing their government benefits eligibility.
Family Limited Partnerships
A Family Limited Partnership (FLP) is a type of partnership often used to transfer assets within a family while retaining control over them. An FLP is created by transferring assets, such as real estate, stocks, or businesses, into the partnership. The partnership then issues shares to family members, who become limited partners. The general partner, typically the person who created the partnership, retains control over the assets and manages the partnership.
Charitable giving is a popular way to transfer wealth and reduce tax liability. By donating assets to a qualified charitable organization, an individual can receive a tax deduction for the value of the donation. Charitable giving can also be structured through a charitable remainder trust (CRT), which allows an individual to donate assets to a trust and receive an income stream for a specified period. After the trust term ends, the remaining assets transfer to the designated charitable organization.
Life insurance can be a useful tool for transferring wealth to future generations. They can provide tax-free benefits to beneficiaries and pay estate taxes or other expenses. Additionally, life insurance policies can be set up to allow the policy owner to transfer ownership to a trust or another individual.
Finding the Right Strategy
Many different wealth transfer strategies are available, each with advantages and disadvantages. These strategies can have complex tax implications and legal requirements, so working with a professional is important to ensure the transfer is efficient and effective for your unique situation. Consult with a financial advisor, elder law attorney, or estate planning attorney before using any wealth transfer strategy.