Avoiding Tax Issues When Gifting to Grandchildren

Avoiding Tax Issues When Gifting to Grandchildren

"Learn how to avoid tax troubles when gifting to grandchildren and secure their future with effective estate planning strategies, such as a 529 account or trust."

Gifting to grandchildren is a wonderful way to share your wealth with young loved ones. Getting some help at the right time can help ensure that they enjoy a bright future. However, taxes may drastically reduce the inheritance they receive. That’s why avoiding tax issues is vital when gifting to grandchildren, so you are making the most of your legacy.

Gifting to grandchildren can be transformative for them and their future. These gifts can make a difference, whether for education, starting a business, or simple financial stability. However, making the greatest difference will require a keen understanding of estate taxes.

Before a deceased person’s estate transfers to their inheritors, the government levies estate taxes. However, many ways exist to reduce or even avoid estate taxes altogether. Estate tax law is largely progressive and provides many allowances and deductions. In particular, accounts are available to fund your beneficiaries’ educations tax-free.

According to ElderLawAnswers, 529 accounts are ideal for helping your inheritors afford education. These special savings accounts are designed for college education expenses, K-12 tuition, apprenticeship programs and student loan repayments, and they offer significant tax advantages. The money you put into a 529 account grows tax-free, and withdrawals for qualified education expenses are also tax-free.

However, the disadvantage of a 529 account is that it only covers education-related expenses. General-purpose gifting has significant limits if you want to avoid a large tax burden.

The IRS places annual limits on gifting to grandchildren, the annual gift tax exclusion. As of 2024, you can give up to $18,000 per year to each grandchild without incurring any gift taxes. If you stay within these limits, you won’t have to pay gift taxes or worry about reducing your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption.

Another strategy to reduce or avoid estate taxes is setting up a trust. You can structure trusts to manage your assets to meet specific goals. By implementing a trust, you can decide how and when your grandchildren receive their inheritance. This is particularly useful if they are young or not yet financially responsible.

There are various types of trusts to consider, such as:

  • Revocable Trusts: These allow you to maintain control over the assets and make changes as needed.
  • Irrevocable Trusts: These remove the assets from your estate, potentially reducing estate taxes. However, you cannot change the terms once it’s set up.
  • Education Trusts: Specifically designed to fund education expenses, similar to 529 accounts but with more flexibility.

Avoiding tax issues when gifting to your grandchildren will ease your tax burden and maximize your contributions to their future. If you would like to learn more about gifting, please visit our previous posts.

Reference: ElderLawAnswers (Jul. 12, 2018) Using 529 Plans for a Grandchild’s Higher Education

Image by Steve Bidmead


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Information in our blogs is very general in nature and should not be acted upon without first consulting with an attorney. Please feel free to contact Texas Trust Law to schedule a complimentary consultation.
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