When you are planning your estate you are invariably going to be taking stock of your legacy, not just in financial terms, but as it applies to influencing future generations of your family toward a pattern of ongoing achievement. With this in mind, you may want to consider a three-pronged approach to inheritance planning. For one, you provide something of character-building value to your heirs rather than just handing them a check or making them beneficiaries of a hefty trust fund. Secondly, you pass along something of monetary worth that will indeed set them up for life if it is used properly. And finally, to provide as much as you can for your family you want to implement strategies to avoid the estate tax to maximize the value of your assets as they change hands.
All three of these objectives can be accomplished when you take advantage of non-taxable educational gifts. There is a lifetime gift tax exclusion of one million dollars, and anything that you give above that amount is taxed. But, you can also give unlimited educational gifts, picking up tuition costs for as many people as you want tax-free, and this does not count against that exclusion. When you pay the tuition of your younger heirs you provide them with a means of helping themselves through their own hard work. College is expensive, especially if you include graduate school, so your gift is generous from a financial standpoint. And you are also transferring assets to your heirs without incurring any estate or gift tax
In order to reach your full potential you need to have access to education, and having a solid academic foundation under you is the key to long term success. The gift of education has lifelong impact, and when your loved ones look back at how their educational background paved the way to their success they will always remember you as the person who made it all possible.
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