Unfortunately, this kind of question is impossible to answer without knowing:
a) the size of your assets;
b) the type of assets which make up your taxable estate;
c) whether your beneficiaries need trusts;
...and I could go on all the way to "z".
Please retain an experienced estate planning lawyer. Depending on your circumstances, as little as one hour of his or her time could set you on the right path. Good luck to you.
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that's not really a question...I also don't know if you mean gifts during life or gifts (non probate transfers such as payable on death, joint tenancy) at death. An estate planning attorney would have to review your assets and goals to determine if there are benefits to life time gifts versus at death.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/
It makes no difference. Assets passing under either a Will or by beneficiary designation are still subject to estate tax. If the estate is under $5,250,000 (for 2013), there would not be any federal estate tax. If you are worried about state estate or inheritance tax, it depends on the state involved. If you are subject to these taxes, the form of transfer is not likely to make any difference.
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There are not enough facts to determine your question. First start with the estate tax threshold of $5.25M under federal law. If the total estate is not over that, then its an issue if your state has a gift or estate tax.
If you transfer ownership now, that is a gift. While there may be no gift tax, you would get a carryover basis for later sale purposes. If the asset is held until death, you get a step up.
I think your question would be better Trust or Will? The Trust would avoid probate. Another option, if you are willing to role the dice on contingencies not occurring is to hold the property as joint tenants. Regardless, I suggest you consult a local Estate Planning Attorney.
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