Gifting: Creating a Tradition of Joy, Responsibility, and Connections

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Gifting: creating a tradition of joy, responsibility, and Connections 


By Stephanie Kelm


As the year draws to a close, families around the world gather to celebrate not only the holiday season, but also the connections and relationships forged over the years.  Amidst the joy of festivities, it is also often the time of year that family gifting takes place; offering a unique opportunity to express love, create lasting memories, and pass on wisdom that transcends generations. In this spirit, we delve deeper into family gifting, incorporating the invaluable benefits of Medicaid and estate planning.


Monetary gifting can often feel transactional. I have had many conversations about how to start gifting, when to start, concerns of responsibility and instilling financial wisdom to future generations. How can one be sure that gifting is truly the right choice for them? 

 Well, one of our beloved 100-year-old clients, whom I have had the pleasure to work with, shares a letter with her loved ones on a yearly basis when gifting. This letter is a great example of execution of gifting, it takes monetary gifting from transactional to familial connection. She has given me the opportunity to share pieces of her yearly letter with you. 


The letter states, “…Traditions are important to me.  They have enriched my life and given me many happy memories. I hope our family traditions continue to bring you joy.” This sentiment sets the tone for a tradition that goes beyond the material, emphasizing the emotional and historical connections that define a family.


 Her daughter shared that the family can now quote the considerations of the gift:

“A more recent tradition is my monetary gift to you, which is enclosed. Please think seriously about how you will use this gift, and consider the following:

  • Decrease the debt hanging over your head
  • Save for a rainy day, because the rain will come
  • Experience the joy of sharing
  • Do or buy something that will bring you joy”

These words in the letter encapsulate not only financial wisdom, but also a heartfelt wish for her family to derive lasting value from the monetary gift.  It touches on practical aspects of financial well-being, emphasizing responsible money management, and the importance of experiencing the joy of both self-indulgence and generosity.


“I ask one other thing of you: please write me a letter or email telling me what you did (or plan to do) and send it to me before I leave for Florida on January 26th” the letter concludes.   This request adds a personal touch to the act of gifting, turning it into a shared experience.  It encourages communication and a deeper connection between generations.  This allows a way to express gratitude, share joy, provide accountability to the recipient, and strengthen the bond of the generations.


Not included in the letter, however, are the financial planning reasons that generations may decide to gift to others.   Incorporating the benefits of Medicaid and estate planning, family gifting takes on a holistic dimension.   Thoughtful planning not only preserves wealth but also empowers families to allocate resources according to their values and priorities.  By strategically distributing assets through gifts, families can reduce potential estate tax burdens, minimizing the tax implications for heirs, and ensuring a smooth transfer of assets. Furthermore, this approach addresses Medicaid eligibility concerns, allowing families to structure assets in a way that preserves access to crucial benefits, while securing the financial well-being of the donor and their heirs.


At the heart of family gifting lies traditions, insight and wealth, coupled with the strategic benefits of estate and Medicaid planning.  By embracing the planning approach advocated by our client’s letter, legacies can be built that go beyond transactional, fostering a tradition of shared values, financial responsibilities and stronger generational bonds.  


As we exchange gifts this season, let us celebrate not only the present joy, but also the enduring legacy of family gifting, coupled with prudent planning with your advisor, creates wealth for generations to come.