Do you have a taxable estate? If no, consider basis-building tax strategy

July 11, 2018

Since the new tax law increased the estate tax exclusion to 10 million dollars, indexed for inflation, taxable estates will continue to decline. As such, if you do not expect to have a taxable estate, you should consider minimizing lifetime gifts. Why? If assets are transferred during life, heirs take a carryover basis from the donor. By contrast, if assets are held until death the heirs take the assets with a stepped-up tax basis. Assuming that assets are increasing in value, dying with the assets is more favorable from an income tax perspective than transferring the assets during life. If you want your heirs to have assets earlier, you should consider making gifts of high-basis or slower-appreciating assets.

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