I am 65 years old and have money saved up. Can I give my family $15,000 each for years and not have it counted as spend down?

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Can I give them 15,000.00 year and pay their taxes ? Can I give them money to fix up their house if I have to move in their house for a while? I heard you could give so much money to family a year without counting it as spend down??? Thank you for answers kathy

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Alfred, thank you for the update. Oh well, looks like the super rich have benefited once again. Now our current President can pass on more of his estate and avoid estate taxes.
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Reply to freqflyer
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I dont know how much youve saved. It sounds like a very healthy amount . Its nice of you to want to distribute some of it to your kids . However, dont under estimate the cost of medical bills or home health ( which medicare only does on a very limited bases) . Id speak to an elder care attorney and maybe an attorney that does wills and trusts etc . Hopefully together or one on the phone with everyone.
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Reply to baskethill1
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From the IRS website (didn't want to embed link in case it doesn't work):

Exclusions
•The annual exclusion for gifts is $11,000 (2004-2005), $12,000 (2006-2008), $13,000 (2009-2012) and $14,000 (2013-2017). In 2018, the annual exclusion is $15,000.
•The basic exclusion amount (or applicable exclusion amount in years prior to 2011) for gifts is $1,000,000 (2010), $5,000,000 (2011), $5,120,000 (2012), $5,250,000 (2013), $5,340,000 (2014), $5,430,000 (2015), $5,450,000 (2016), $5,490,000 (2017), and $11,180,000 (2018).

The new tax bill passed in mid-December 2017. Many searches may link to the old amounts before the increase. If your link or article is dated before December 2017, then it is probably no longer valid. The amounts shown above are per person, and could be doubled for a married couple.
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Reply to AlfredR
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Be sure you are not giving away money that you will need for your own care. The government and other taxpayers do not want to pay for your care if you give away your money.
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Reply to anonymous439773
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Alfred, do you have a link for the $11,180,000 life time exemption? All I can find is what bicycler had written, the $5.6m. Even my "Elder Law Attorney" had mentioned the $5.6m.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Correction to what bicycler said. The lifetime estate tax exemption is $11,180,000 per person, or double that for a married couple (with proper planning). This was a late year change included in the new tax law.
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Reply to AlfredR
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Randy444, if your question is regarding only the effect of gifts on a possible future Medicaid application, then, as others have said, Medicaid will disallow any gifts within 5 years of receiving your application. If you move into someone's house and you pay for reasonable improvements that your doctor certifies you need your safety (e.g. roll-in shower, wheelchair ramp, etc.), then Medicaid might not look at those improvements as gifts. Of course if you pay for a new roof or swimming pool, Medicaid will consider such as a gift. To avoid uncertainty, it would be safer for you to pay for room and board via a reasonable rental agreement and/or a personal care agreement (PCA) that specifies what doctor-ordered care is being provided.

However, if your question is regarding tax effects, then, yes, $15,000 is the 2018 IRS limit for excludable gifts (non-taxable) per recipient (e.g. child and spouse) per gifter (e.g. each parent). But you can actually gift much larger amounts without it being taxed as a gift by formally declaring on your tax return that such larger amount counts toward your $5.6 million lifetime estate exemption (double that for a married couple). Here's an IRS website that explains all this (the $14,000 listed as the annual excludable amount is for 2017): www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/whats-new-estate-and-gift-tax
Here's a news website that announces IRS updated limits for 2018: www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2017/10/19/irs-announces-2018-estate-and-gift-tax-limits-11-2-million-per-couple/#143659ec4a4b

But don't ignore the sound advice of others regarding making sure that the care you may need in the future is not jeopardized by your current generosity; i.e. as freqflyer suggested, talk to an elder law attorney and/or certified financial adviser who is an expert in aging issues.
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Reply to bicycler
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Randy444, yes, you can give each family member $15k which is the amount where the IRS will not ask for a "gift tax". If you have investments that give you a lot of dividends, then you can easily afford to give such monetary gifts for many years.

Personally, I wouldn't do the maximum amount, otherwise your family members may start to expect that money each year.

Now, if you have such money to give to give to your grown children, then you don't need to worry about "spending down" because you would be overqualified for Medicaid [which is different from Medicare]. Medicaid is used for people who are closer to living at poverty level, and cannot afford to pay for a nursing home. Or if they are a bit over the level, then they need to spend down, and the spend down is on themselves.

Be careful with the gifting. Assisted Living can cost around $7k per month [depending on location] or $84k a year. My Dad had caregivers, if he had them for a year it would have cost him $240k a year. Remember, you are only 65 years old, and I assume in good health.

Talk with an "Elder Law Attorney" to see if you would benefit from having a Revocable Trust.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Maybe I am cheap---but ALL our money and investments are for US to use as we age. IF there's anything left over after we're both gone, the kids will then inherit equally. Not before.

Our "plan" is to live comfortably alone, then when one of us passes, the basement apartment will be used (if needed) as a caregiver's home. OR alternately, the remaining spouse will move to as nice an Assisted Living facility that we can afford.

My kids are ALL financially sound (better off that we are!!) and we have helped them all out over the years and in our dotage, we get to take care of us.
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Reply to Midkid58
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If you have the money for private pay in a nice nursing home of your choice why on earth would you choose a third rate one that accepts Medicaid. Do you want to sit in your poop for hours or wait a couple of hours for your call bell to be answered.
No keep what you have got in your own hot little hands for your own care.
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Reply to Veronica91
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