Real estate slump may help with estate planning

Real estate prices are in a slump in most places, but this can be good news if you want to transfer real estate assets to your children as a means of estate planning. Often, a good way to reduce estate taxes is to give your heirs an interest in your assets now, while retaining control of the assets. That way, you get the interests out of your estate at today’s values, rather than later when they will presumably be worth more and trigger a higher tax. And when asset values are low, it’s an even better idea to transfer a partial interest. You can give these interests outright, but there are other techniques that can magnify the savings. For instance, you could consider putting a vacation home into a trust or a limited-liability company, putting investment real estate into a family limited partnership, or putting your home into a qualified personal residence trust.

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