There are several strategies you should consider when doing your estate planning. First, you should consider making gifts to the beneficiaries of your Will while you are still alive—during your lifetime. This is generally better than giving them money through your estate.

Ask your accountant what the estate taxes re gifts currently are. You can also avoid gift taxes if you make payments directly to medical providers or educational institutions on behalf of others. Besides these exclusions, you can presently give away a total of $1 million during your lifetime before any gift taxes are due (also check with your accountant re this).

You can give tax-free gifts to your children.  For the gift to qualify for the annual exclusion, the recipient must be able to use or spend the gift immediately. You should also check with your accountant re this because there are some exceptions to this rule when it comes to children.

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