Q&A: My parents cut my kid out of their will. (Ouch!) Can I give her some cash?

Dear Liz: My parents wrote my youngest daughter out of their will (my other children were left in). As both parents are now gone, I am in the process of settling the estate. I feel horrible that my parents did this. My daughter is very upset with me and her siblings for not sharing the inheritance. I am under the impression that there is nothing we can do about the will. Having said that, I would like to give my daughter a good amount of money but I believe I can’t give more than $18,000 a year. Am I correct in my two assumptions?

Answer: Yes and no.

Yes, as the executor of the estate, you’re bound to carry out your parents’ wishes as expressed in their estate planning documents.

But no, there’s no limit to how much money you can give someone. Gifts over a certain size — which is $18,000 this year — have to be reported to the IRS. But you won’t owe gift taxes until the amounts you give away over the annual limit exceed your lifetime limit, which is currently $13.61 million.

That said, a large enough gift could have an impact on your own estate. Consider getting advice from your estate planning attorney before you proceed.

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