Can I make lifetime gifts to my children?

Yes, there are many options. In 2018 you can give up to $15,000.00 to each donee (the person receiving the gift). There are some other more complicated rules that allow a larger gift if the gift is for a child’s tuition or for medical expenses (check with a lawyer or CPA first before attempting a tuition or medical expense gift).

If you are married and the gift property is jointly owned, then you and your spouse can combine each of your $15,000.00 gift exclusions to transfer $30,000.00 per year to a donee. Notice it’s per donee. You could have a lot of donees if that is something you want or you need to reduce the size of your estate each year. (Please make sure to discuss any planned gifting scheme with a lawyer before proceeding.)

If your children are minors, the gifts can be given under the Texas Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (“TUTMA”) and you can name yourself as the custodian of the account. Another option is a section 2503(c) trust for minors. But, once the children turn 21, the children get the funds outright. There is an extended section 2503(c) option; but, it gives the children the right at age 21 to withdraw all of the trust funds.

Assuming you put $15,000.00 per year into a trust for a decade, you would have $150,000.00 plus 10+ years of accumulated interest available to the child at age 21. For most, this is simply too much money to give to a 21 year old child due to lack of responsibility and maturity.

Thus, many parents who want to use a lifetime gifting plan use a special trust called a Crummey trust to let a trustee manage the money until the children are certain age or other certain milestones are hit.

Of course, some gifts aren’t limited to children; there are many gifting options to non-children as well that Mr. Miller would be happy to explain to you.