As a parent, you always want what’s best for your children. You work hard to provide for them, ensuring they have everything they need to succeed both now and in the future. Because of this, many parents have started to wonder if a traditional inheritance still makes sense. Do you really have to wait until you pass away to share your wealth with your kids? In this article, we’ll explore 5 accelerated inheritance strategies and how to tell if they make sense for you.
What Is an Accelerated Inheritance?
An accelerated inheritance refers to an inheritance given during your lifetime, rather than at death. It is a way for parents to provide financial support to their children while they are still around to enjoy it, rather than leaving assets and money after they pass away.
Accelerated Inheritance Strategies
An accelerated inheritance doesn’t have to look the same as a traditional inheritance. There are many ways to share your wealth with your children during your lifetime, including:
You don’t need to wait until you’ve passed away to give money and assets to your kids. In 2023, the annual gift exclusion is $17,000 per year per person. If you’re splitting the gift with a spouse, you can give up to $34,000. So that means a married couple with two kids can give $34,000 to each child for a total of $68,000 without filing a gift tax return.
Lifetime gifting can help you strike a balance between taking care of your kids and depleting your own retirement assets, and it can also help reduce the taxable portion of your estate.
It’s worth noting that once you gift more than the annual exclusion, the excess amount spills into the “lifetime exclusion bucket.” You must use this entire amount before the IRS requires you to pay gift tax. For 2023, the current lifetime exclusion is $12.92 million for individuals and $25.84 million for married couples.
Unless something changes, the lifetime exclusion amount is set to decrease starting in 2026. It will be reduced to $5 million per person and will only increase to account for inflation in subsequent years. If you think your estate is going to be subject to estate taxes once the exclusion amount resets, you may want to consider taking advantage of the current exclusion to make gifts.
Gifting Appreciated Securities
Many parents wish to give large gifts to their adult children, usually in the form of a wedding gift or down payment for a house. There is a common belief that cash is the best way to give these gifts. In reality, any cash gift above the annual exclusion will trigger potential gift tax consequences. Gifting appreciated securities can be a way to give an accelerated inheritance to your kids while reducing your tax liability on capital gains and reducing the value of your taxable estate.
For those who are not eligible for the 0% capital gains tax rate due to income thresholds, consider gifting highly appreciated assets to an adult child instead of selling them yourself. Chances are your kids are in a lower tax bracket, which will result in a reduced or eliminated tax liability if they sell the investment themselves.
Fund a Family Vacation
More and more, successful parents are thinking less about leaving money to their children and instead looking to enjoy the fruits of their lifelong labor through quality time with their family. Experiences shared as a family will often mean more than cold, hard cash. Rather than safeguarding your wealth to be left after you’re gone, consider buying a vacation home where everyone can gather. Or take your whole family on that trip you’ve always dreamed about. These experiences will produce lifelong memories that are likely more impactful than leaving a larger inheritance.
Consider a 529 Plan
Another great way to transfer wealth to your children and grandchildren is through the use of a 529 college savings plan. There is a special provision that allows donors to contribute 5 years’ worth of gifts as a lump sum. This means an individual can gift up to $85,000 ($17,000 x 5) and a married couple can gift up to $170,000 without incurring gift taxes! The beneficiary can then withdraw the funds and investment growth tax-free to pay for qualified education expenses. If the child chooses not to go to college, the funds can be transferred to another beneficiary or withdrawn at the marginal tax rate and charged a 10% penalty.
Create an Irrevocable Trust
If you have concerns about how gifted or inherited funds will be used by your kids, or you want to leave specific instructions on how the money should be spent, consider creating an irrevocable trust. Utilizing an irrevocable trust can be an effective tool to reduce your estate tax and provide guidance for your heirs on your desires for the inheritance. It is permanently binding and you cannot change the terms or beneficiaries. Depending on how the trust is structured, your beneficiaries can receive payments before you pass away, making this an effective vehicle for accelerated inheritance.
Making the Right Choice
While it can be a valuable way to support your children and share your wealth, an accelerated inheritance is not a decision to make lightly. It is important to consider various factors, like:
- Retirement security: Before giving an accelerated inheritance, it is essential to assess your own financial situation and make sure you have enough savings to support your retirement goals. Remember, a well-planned and thoughtful accelerated inheritance can be a valuable way to support your children, but it should never come at the expense of your own financial stability.
- Level of financial responsibility: It’s important to assess your child’s level of financial responsibility before giving them an accelerated inheritance. Giving money to children who are not mature enough to handle it can lead to poor financial decisions, such as overspending, debt accumulation, or even becoming victims of scams.
- Taxes: When gifting money or assets to your children, there may be tax implications to consider, especially if the gifts are above the annual exclusion amount. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how an accelerated inheritance will impact your tax liability before making any decisions.
How We Help
If you’re considering an accelerated inheritance, it’s important to carefully assess your financial situation and determine whether it is the right choice for you and your family. We encourage you to work with a financial advisor who can help you navigate the various considerations and make an informed decision.
At Favor Wealth, we’re on a mission to help our clients feel excited about their financial futures and we can help you assess your accelerated inheritance options. To learn more about how we help, contact us at 626-529-0445 or email Ricky directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ricky Biel is founder, wealth manager and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ professional at Favor Wealth, an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. Ricky Biel founded Favor Wealth with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Ricky and his team of caring, smart professionals want their clients to feel like they’ve done them a favor, making it easier than ever to accomplish their financial goals by blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies. He is on a mission to help his family of clients feel both a sense of relief and excitement about their future. Favor Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the Favor Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at 626-529-0445 or email Ricky directly at email@example.com.
The commentary on this blog/website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Favor Wealth Advisors’ employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Favor Wealth Advisors or performance returns of any Favor Wealth Advisors’ Investments client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Favor Wealth Advisors manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.