One of the common misconceptions about estate planning is that it is limited to wills, trusts and other documents that go into effect after death. However, making gifts while you are still alive can reduce your overall estate value for tax purposes, as well as distribute appreciated assets tax-free.
For example, you can make gifts of up to $14,000 per year to as many people as you like without any gift taxes, and donating appreciated property to a charity is tax-free even on the capital gains. Both of these strategies may decrease the tax burden if you have a large estate or significant appreciated assets. If these lifetime gifting methods are interesting to you, please contact Attorney Andrea K. Shoup at Shoup Legal, A Professional Law Corporation at 951-445-4114 so we can discuss how they may fit into your estate plan.