Texas residents who are looking to move assets outside of their estates will typically make gifts to irrevocable trusts. However, the downside to an irrevocable trust is that an individual loses control of that asset once the gift is made. This means that he or she is unable to change who the beneficiary of the trust is. For some, this could be problematic in the event that a beneficiary no longer needs money or the grantor needs his or her money back.
Instead of making a gift to an irrevocable trust, it may be possible to put money in a 529 account. This allows a person to pay for a child or grandchild’s education while helping to reduce the amount of his or her taxable estate. An individual who creates such an account can act as the trustee and make changes to a beneficiary designation.
Individuals can gift up to $75,000 to a 529 plan without incurring a taxable event. Typically, a person can only provide up to $15,000 per gift without dipping into his or her gift or estate tax exemptions. However, if the grantor passes before five years has passed, some of that money could be returned to that person’s estate. The same could be true if a portion of the cash isn’t used for qualified educational purposes.
Saving money on estate taxes may be a primary estate planning goal for many people. An attorney may be able to help a person learn more about trusts and other tools to reduce the size of a taxable estate. If necessary, an attorney may help a person make changes to an existing trust or revoke it entirely. Legal counsel may also assist in changing beneficiary designations so that they reflect a client’s current wishes.