The economy is reeling, stocks are plummeting, and most people want nothing more than to take their money, hide it under a mattress, and avoid any kind of financial or estate planning. Giving money away is just about the last thing on most people’s minds right now. But those with financial wisdom and experience (namely the Wall Street Journal) know that this is actually the perfect time to reassess your estate plan and to transfer wealth to your children or grandchildren with minimum (or no) inheritance tax.
Why would you want to give money away when times are so tough? Perhaps you’re like Dr. Tom Pedrick and his wife, who took advantage of depressed stock to transfer investment profits to their heirs through trusts, a move that was hugely advantageous once share prices rebounded. Or perhaps you feel strongly about helping family members whose finances may not have fared as well as your own, as Roger Dunham did. Or yet another possibility is that you’d like to invest in stock or property while prices are low, but worry about the tax implications when your investment appreciates in value.
If you aren’t ready to jump into new property or the stock market during these uncertain times, you may want to “consider how much you can accomplish with a pen and checkbook”, Anne Tergesen writes in her article, including paying “tuition and medical expenses for your grandchildren with no tax consequences.”
Whether you’d like to walk on the wild side of investing or play it safe by reducing the size of your taxable estate, there is no better time to get your estate in order than right now.