Maximizing Your Legacy: 2024 Estate Planning Opportunities

Use tax season to review income and expenses from 2023 and set new financial goals for 2024 to maximize opportunities.
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Written by:Tim J. Wooten

Attorney at Law

Tim has 20 years of practice experience and has wide experience with federal and state courts throughout the country in insurance coverage, insurance defense, complex litigation, construction and design, product liability, breach of contract, federal tax controversy and disputes before the IRS and U.S. Tax Court, settlements and probate, and multi-jurisdictional litigation.
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As many of us review our finances for tax season, now is an excellent time to reflect on your financial and estate planning strategies for 2024. There are several planning opportunities this year that can significantly enhance your legacy planning, with strategic options for wealth transfer, tax savings, and charitable giving.

A couple learning why it's important to review your will and estate plan regularly

Estate Planning Opportunities in 2024

This year marks a significant moment for individuals and families looking to optimize their estate planning. With adjustments in tax laws and exemptions, there are several key areas to focus on.

Increased Tax Exemptions

One of the most notable changes is the increase in estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemptions. These exemptions have risen to $13,610,000 per person, up by $690,000 from the previous year. This adjustment opens the door for substantial gifting opportunities, allowing individuals to transfer significant assets to their heirs or into trusts with minimized tax implications. This is particularly crucial for those who have already utilized a portion of their exemption in past years, as it offers an additional buffer to further safeguard assets from future estate taxes.

Annual Gift Tax Exclusion

The annual gift tax exclusion has increased to $18,000 per person in 2024. This enhancement allows individuals to gift up to $18,000 to unlimited recipients without incurring any gift tax or the need to file a gift tax return. This strategy is an excellent way to reduce the size of your taxable estate while directly benefiting your loved ones. For families, this means the potential to transfer significant wealth across generations each year, tax-free.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

For those with philanthropic goals, 2024 is a promising year to consider establishing a charitable remainder trust (CRT). A CRT allows you to contribute assets into a trust that pays you (or another designated beneficiary) a fixed income for life or a specified term of years. The remaining assets are donated to your chosen charity upon the trust’s termination. This arrangement offers several benefits: it reduces your taxable estate, provides you with a stream of income, and fulfills your philanthropic desires. Moreover, the initial transfer to the CRT may qualify for a charitable income tax deduction, further reducing your taxable income.

Key Takeaways

  • Strategic Gifting with Increased Exemptions: The raised exemptions for estate, gift, and GST taxes present a prime opportunity for strategic gifting. Consider utilizing these exemptions to transfer assets to your heirs now, potentially saving them from future tax burdens.
  • Utilize the Annual Gift Tax Exclusion: The increased annual exclusion offers a straightforward method to reduce your estate’s size while benefiting your loved ones directly. It’s an effective tool for wealth distribution that can have immediate positive effects.
  • Incorporate Philanthropy into Your Estate Plan: Charitable remainder trusts provide a unique opportunity to support charitable causes while receiving income and tax benefits. This strategy allows for philanthropy to be seamlessly integrated into your estate plan, ensuring your legacy includes support for causes important to you.


By taking strategic steps now, you can ensure that your estate plan aligns with your goals, benefits your loved ones, and reflects your values. Whether through leveraging increased tax exemptions, making the most of the annual gift tax exclusion, or incorporating charitable giving into your plan, there are numerous ways to make a lasting impact. As always, we can provide personalized advice tailored to your unique situation and objectives.

Reference: JD Supra “2024 Estate Planning Opportunities”

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