How to Give Assets to Your Children Before Your Death

Written by bobbye alley
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Some people plan to divide their assets before death and give money and real estate away. This can prevent issues from arising after death. Keep tax implications in mind as you do this, though. Beginning in 2011, an individual can give up to £3 million in gifts before owing a gift tax.

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    Meet with a financial adviser. Giving away your assets can be complicated and there are many things to consider from tax implications to what you need to hang on to to maintain a certain quality of life. Many asset transfers can not be reversed and should be well planned and executed under the direction or a financial planner or attorney.

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    Give assets such as money and personal property to family members other than a spouse. A transfer of property for less than its value is considered a gift. There is no limit to the number of people or their relation to you. The exceptions to the gift law include cash gifts of more than £8,450 in 2010 (the most recent tax year as of this article's publication), gifts to charity, gifts to a spouse and gifts for education. Each of these gifts have specific tax implications.

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    Open a custodial account at a bank or with a broker. The account will allow you to transfer liquid assets to a child. You manage the account and make deposits, but the funds belong to the child. Once the child reaches age 18 or 21, depending on the account type, she takes control of the account and all funds in it.

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    Open a trust account. A trust account allows you to deposit funds that will be distributed to a specific beneficiary when you die. You can determine how much money to put in the trust and exactly where it will go.

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    Make arrangements for your house. Your residence can be given as a gift or sold to a family member. Only plan to gift or sell the residence if you do not plan to live in the house. If you plan to stay in the home, but still want to give it away, a qualified personal residence trust allows you to give the house to a family member while you still live in the home at fixed taxable estate value.

Tips and warnings

  • The transfer of assets can be delicate, time-consuming and costly. Working with a professional saves time and headache.

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