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Estate planning: Lifetime gifting can minimize taxes

Those who want to minimize taxes on their estate plans should consider lifetime gifting. The time has never been better for Massachusetts residents to do so in their estate planning since the lifetime exemption for estates and gifts is at an all-time high — $22.8 million joint exemption for those who are married and $11.4 million for singles. Analysts say those figures could change, so people would be wise to take action now. 

When it comes to trusts, there is something known as a pot trust. All money is put into that one trust and all children have equal access to request the distribution of funds. Since this trust also has a trustee, it is up to him or her to agree or disagree with the distribution request. A grantor can saddle the trust with specific provisions such as the money requested be used for education, support or anything else he or she chooses.

If the testator has a high net worth, he or she should have a fiduciary in place to help benefactors with decisions regarding trusts. Taking advantage of a lifetime gift tax exemption could be the best thing anyone could do for loved ones. It’s one of the best ways to pass the most down to family members.

There are many kinds of trusts that could be a part of estate planning. Having an idea of what those are and the legalities that accompany them may help Massachusetts residents to make informed decisions about their gift giving. Reaching out to an experienced estate planning attorney may be the best way of understanding various trusts and the laws that govern them.   

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