If you have a sizeable estate, chances are you want to pass it on to your heirs according to your own wishes. But if your assets and wealth exceed the 2019 estate tax limit of $11.4 million for individuals or $22.8 million for couples, you may end up paying a significant portion of your earnings to the government. You may be wondering if it is possible to avoid this burden.
Thankfully, it is possible to shield your estate from this tax. Here are some general strategies that can help you accomplish this goal.
- Give gifts
One strategy for minimizing or avoiding estate taxes is to give annual gifts. This is an easy way to lower the value of your estate. Currently, the yearly gift exclusion amount is $15,000. Make sure you do not go over this amount in your annual gifts or you will be subject to the gift tax.
- Make charitable donations
You can bypass the estate tax and support meaningful causes at the same time by establishing a charitable trust. Not only can this reduce the value of your estate, but you may also score some tax deductions. This can also help you avoid capital gains taxes.
- Place your assets in trusts
There are so many types of trusts that can help you shield your assets from tax burdens. One option is a qualified personal residence trust. A QPRT allows you to transfer real estate into a trust and distribute it to your beneficiaries once the term ends. This lets you freeze the market value of your primary residence and vacation homes.
Another trust to consider is an irrevocable trust for life insurance. Life insurance proceeds can make your estate subject to taxation after you pass away. Setting up a life insurance trust will prevent your death benefits from being included in the overall value of your estate.