A nice day today, eh?
Yesterday I made a gift of a painting to my son. After, I reflected on making a gift. Something like this:
My best friend is an artist. A talented one. I've known him for about 50 years. We met in high school.
He paints wonderful landscapes. I own several of them. And I gave away one of my favorites yesterday to my son.
There was another one that is not so good, in my eyes. I would have liked if he would have said that one was the one he had his eye on.
Instead, he mentioned the one that I've liked for some time. It's a vertical piece, about 30 inches fall and 18 inches wide.
I mention it because it hurt a little to give it away. But I love my son (one of three children). And if he liked it, I wanted him to have it.
I reflected that a good gift should be something that you value. Money and non-money gifts differ in this way. Money is money, and it doesn't have a real relationship with you. Not a history.
In my line of work, as an estate planning attorney, I urge people of large wealth to give assets away. And to do it while they are living. Some act on my advice.
But the ones whom don't likely don't want to experience the pain of giving. To lower estate taxe, the gift should be large enough so that it 'hurts.' It lowers your principal. And maintaining principal is a long-lived adage in our society.
I gave the painting away not to lower estate taxes. I gave it away because it will outlast me. And why not see the pleasure my son and his mate will get from having it in their home.
I'm Joel Bernstein, an estate planning attorney with over 30 years of experience. I use plain English to help you understand wills, trusts, and the other documents you need to protect your loved ones and your estate.
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