Whether you're the "gifter" or the "giftee", it's no secret you want to make the most of a gift. But Federal Estate Tax Laws can make your ideal gifting process a little hard to navigate, to say the least. In recent years, the tax laws have increased the exemption amount (the amount someone can pass without paying any Federal Estate Tax) to approximately $11.2M per person, while the annual gift tax exclusion has increased to $15,000 per person.
While that's a change in your favor, I think it's important to talk through the implications of a gift versus an inheritance. An inheritance, which is a transfer that occurs upon death of the gifter, results in something called “stepped up basis.” A gift made during the gifter’s lifetime results in “carryover basis.”
Let's take a look at a real-world example to help make sense of these two ideas: