How can I Avoid Paying Inheritance Tax on Property?

Jeremy Laukkonen

Under certain circumstances, the people that receive your property after you die may have to pay an inheritance or death tax. Depending on their own financial situation, they may end up going into debt to pay the inheritance tax on property, or might even need to sell the property in question to pay for the taxes. Inheritance and tax laws can vary widely between countries and even from place to place within the same country, though there are often ways to avoid your heirs having to pay an inheritance tax on property. One common solution to inheritance taxes is giving away your most valuable property before you die. Another strategy can involve placing your property into a trust and list your children or other heirs as beneficiaries.

There are restrictions on how much real estate you can give to family members.
There are restrictions on how much real estate you can give to family members.

Some inheritance taxes are fairly minor, while others can claim a large portion of the value of the property that you want to pass on to your heirs. You may own a home, other real estate, or a business that you would like your heirs to inherit upon your death. If you live in an area with very a very high inheritance tax on property, your heirs may have to sell your home or business in order to be covered. One way to avoid this is to simply gift your property before you die. A family business may be passed down to the next generation in much the same way.

Gifting property prior to death is one way to avoid inheritance taxes.
Gifting property prior to death is one way to avoid inheritance taxes.

There is typically a limit on how much you can gift each year, and a monetary restriction on how much real estate you can give family members or other loved ones. Limitations on monetary or real property gifts can vary between jurisdictions. Determining these limits and sticking within them can be important, as there may be severe tax consequences if you do not. In some cases, such as substantial real estate holdings, or areas with tight restrictions on giving, you may need to examine different options.

If you wish to maintain nominal ownership of your property prior to your passing, you may be interested in setting up a family trust. You may be able to create a trust that includes both yourself and your intended heirs as beneficiaries. Many different types of assets, including real property, may often be placed within a trust. This can then allow you to maintain control over your assets until your death, at which point ownership of the trust can fall to your heirs without them incurring an inheritance tax on property.

Another way to avoid inheritance tax on property is charitable giving. Typically, anything left to a charity will not be subject to taxation. This can allow you to leave valuable assets to a favorite charitable group without worrying about the organization having to pay taxes.

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