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A miniature toy house adorned with a key rests on a rustic wooden background - Gift and Estate Tax.

Navigating Gift and Estate Tax Limits: Key Insights for 2024

Planning for the future involves more than just saving money. It’s crucial to understand how your assets will be managed and distributed after you’re gone. Tax implications, particularly those surrounding gifts and estates, can come as a surprise if not addressed beforehand. Let’s untangle the complexities of gift and estate tax limitations to ensure your wealth passes smoothly to your loved ones.

What are Gift and Estate Taxes?

The tax code imposes limitations on how much you can gift to others (money or property) during your lifetime and at your death without incurring taxes. These taxes prevent individuals from circumventing the estate tax by simply giving away their assets before passing.

Annual Exclusion: Your Tax-Free Giving Power

Good news! For 2024, you can gift up to $18,000 per person every year without triggering any tax implications. This means you can spread the joy to an unlimited number of individuals without worrying about additional tax burdens. Think of it as your annual “philanthropy budget” with some flexibility.

Lifetime Exclusion: The Bigger Tax-Free Umbrella

Beyond the annual allowance, each individual benefits from a lifetime exclusion of $13.61 million in 2024. This umbrella covers the total value of gifts you make throughout your lifetime, combined with the value of your estate at death. Essentially, it’s the overall limit on tax-free transfers.

Important Note: A Looming Change

Remember, these generous exclusions are temporary! Currently, they are set to significantly decrease after 2025, potentially dropping to around $6 million per person in 2026. If you have a substantial estate, now is the time to review your plans and consider how this change might impact your beneficiaries.

What You Need to Do Now

If you have a large estate, it’s crucial to review your estate plan with a financial advisor to understand how the impending reduction in the lifetime exclusion will affect you. There are a number of steps you can take to minimize your potential tax liability, such as:

  • Making annual exclusion gifts: This is a simple and effective way to start reducing the value of your taxable estate. By giving $18,000 per year to each of your beneficiaries, you can gradually transfer wealth out of your estate and reduce your estate tax bill.
  • Utilizing Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs): GRATs are a type of irrevocable trust that allows you to transfer assets to a trust while still receiving income from those assets for a set number of years. After the term ends, the remaining assets in the trust pass to the beneficiaries without being subject to estate tax.
  • Making spousal gifts: If you are married, you can gift up to $120,000 per year to your spouse without incurring any gift tax. This is a powerful tool that can be used to significantly reduce the taxable value of your estate.


By understanding the gift and estate tax rules and taking proactive steps to plan for the future, you can help ensure that your loved ones inherit your assets as efficiently as possible. Contact a financial advisor today to discuss your estate planning options.

JS Morlu LLC is a top-tier accounting firm based in Woodbridge, Virginia, with a team of highly experienced and qualified CPAs and business advisors. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive accounting, tax, and business advisory services to clients throughout the Washington, D.C. Metro Area and the surrounding regions. With over a decade of experience, we have cultivated a deep understanding of our clients’ needs and aspirations. We recognize that our clients seek more than just value-added accounting services; they seek a trusted partner who can guide them towards achieving their business goals and personal financial well-being.
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