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February 2014 Archives

HOW MUCH CAN I GIFT TO MY CHILDREN?

As much as you want. There are no federal or State laws that restrict the amount you can gift to children, grandchildren or anyone else. Many clients have announced to me "I can give $10,000 (or $12,000 or $14,000) to my children". Their accountant told them, or their hairstylist or a friend. In the context of federal gift tax laws, the correct statement is "I can gift $14,000 to each of my children (or grandchildren or friends) as a tax-exempt gift each year". The current federal tax-exempt gift of $14,000 can be given to an unlimited number of people, no matter how they are related to you. You may make these tax-exempt gifts every calendar year. There is no need to file a Gift Tax Return to report the gifts and there is no gift tax imposed. In addition, you can gift $5,340,000 during your lifetime without paying gift taxes. In both cases, the person receiving the gift does not have to pay any type of tax on the gift or report it on their income tax return. In another context, gifting matters very much. If you are looking at a long stay in a nursing home, the gifts you made in the last five years may disqualify you for medicaid (MassHealth) benefits to pay for your care. 

ESTATE PLANNING FOR CATS AND DOGS

Jeff Roberta and Sam2.jpgIt's a sad fact that more than 500,000 pets are euthanized each year due to their owner's disability or death. The Humane Society of the US estimates that 47% of American households own pets, with a total of 83.3 million dogs and 95.6 cats. How many pet owners have planned for their pets? My unofficial estimate, based on more than thirty years of estate planning, is less than 1%. Have you given this any thought? Probably not. I tell my clients to plan for their pets the same way they would plan for a young child. Think about who would be willing to take custody of your pet and then talk to that person. And remember that it costs money to care for your pet. 

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Roberta A. Schreiber, P.C.
Suite 108
348 Park Street
North Reading, MA 01864-2153

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