Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney | End of the Year Gifting

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Dec 31, 2012

Time is running out for 2012 gift giving! End of year gifting by check is always an issue for those trying to use their annual exclusion amounts, but in 2012 the issue also relates to those attempting to make larger gifts to use their unified credit amounts before the scheduled reduction of the unified credit in 2013.gifting, estate planning

The issue with using checks to make gifts is that until the check clears the bank, the donor can revoke the gift by issuing a stop payment or by removing adequate funds from the bank account. A gift that can be revoked is not complete until revocability ends. Thus, a check written in 2012 that does not clear until 2013 is at risk of being a 2013 gift, not a 2012 gift, since the donor could have stopped payment in 2013 before it cleared.

There is case law on gifts by check, and when they will be treated as complete. The safest course is to deliver the check in 2012, have it deposited by the recipient, and have it clear in 2012.

Failing that, Revenue Ruling 96-56 provides a safe harbor. Under that ruling a gift by check delivered in 2012 will be a gift as of the date the check is deposited or presented for payment if:

  • the check was paid by the drawee bank when first presented to the drawee bank for payment;
  • the donor was alive when the check was paid by the drawee bank;
  • the donor intended to make a gift;
  • delivery of the check by the donor was unconditional; and
  • the check was deposited, cashed, or presented in 2012 and within a reasonable time of issuance.

Thus, depositing the check in 2013 will be a problem.

These rules are not the same as for charitable contribution deductions – those rules are more liberal.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We developed our Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Legal Guide, so you can learn where problems may exist in your planning as well as opportunities for improvement and how to implement a plan to protect your spouse, home, family, and life savings.  Click Here to Download the Guide.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: gifting, Massachusetts, gift, charitable, donations, year end, 2013

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