Annual Giving – Should I wait?

Giving is an act of kindness. Sure it can be part of your well thought out estate plan. Federal estate tax credits hit a new high in 2014. But perhaps a bequest in excess of $5,340,000 is a little outside your bandwidth already.

Sometimes its helpful to remember what giving is all about. Your assets need to be here and in place long enough to see you through. Comfortably and maybe even more. After you’re gone, no need to worry. It will help the kids, your grandchildren or one or more of your favorite charitable concerns.

Being around to see the benefit now has its merits too. Assuming it’s within your power to do so, you can gift $14,000 free of gift taxes in 2014. There is no restriction on the personal relationship, nor on the number of people you choose to gift to. Of course gifting in smaller amounts is permissible as well.

While longer-term savings vehicles are available for education, like setting up a 529 plan for a child or grandchild, for those with an immediate need there’s a solution too. If a family member or someone you know needs help with education or medical expenses, there is no limitation on a gift of that kind. The only caveat is that payment must be made directly to the institution involved.

Only gifts that are charitable contributions qualify as a deductible item on your tax return. Of course, consult with your CPA on all tax matters. By making a gift while you’re still around, you’ll get to see the good things your money is able to do for someone else today. That’s real value and always exceeds the actual gift itself.