If you have done any estate planning (or even if you have not, in which case you should be calling me without delay), lifetime gifting is an effective way to reduce the overall value of your estate, which could have the benefit of lower estate taxes due and/or asset protection in the context of MassHealth planning. This year, any individual may make a gift of $14,000 per donee (and an unlimited number of donees) without any gift tax implications at all. A married couple with joint assets, may therefore, make gifts of $28,000 to as many recipients as they choose without any gift tax consequences. Lifetime gifting to children or grandchildren can be an effective way of reducing wealth and saving on estate taxes. Of course, you have to be able to afford to make such gifts and still leave yourselves with sufficient assets to live on, but in families without conflict, the donees (usually the children) may set aside the gifts received in a separate account in their names in case of that "rainy day"
when Mom or Dad may run out of money and need financial assistance. We have just over one week left in 2013, so if you are considering doing any lifetime gifting for estate planning purposes and have not done anything this year, you still have ten days left to take advantage of the gifting exclusion for 2013. So go get out those checkbooks and start writing!