To avoid the estate tax, you may naturally consider lifetime gift giving. This was something that people used to do shortly after the estate tax was enacted in 1916, but we have had a gift tax in place continuously since 1932, so this loophole is long closed. The gift tax and the estate tax are unified, so the exclusion applies to lifetime gifts along with the estate that will be passed on after you are gone. The estate tax is only applicable on transfers to anyone other than your spouse because there is an unlimited marital deduction. Unlimited tax-free asset transfers between citizen spouses are allowed.
Topics covered in this report include:
- Appreciable Assets