You’ve worked all your life to build what you have. You spent years in school, internships and working your way up the corporate ladder to get where you are today. Don’t let all of it come crashing down after you are gone by facing high taxes on your estate. Today, we will take a look at some tax tips for large estates so your family members are not hit with massive taxes upon your death.

One of the first things you should do, especially if you have a college-aged dependent, is pay college expenses. These payments must be made directly to the college or university and not funneled through your child. The funds cannot be used to pay for room and board. These payments are unlimited and will not affect your gift tax and federal estate exemptions.

Make a gift annually from your estate. The federal level before taxes come into play is $15,000. You should make a $15,000 gift every year to help reduce the taxable amount of your estate.

Create an irrevocable life insurance trust. This helps ensure that the policy is protected from federal taxes. A policy on your own life that has incidents of ownership in it will be subjected to federal taxes unless an irrevocable life insurance trust is created.

It’s important to understand the tax laws related to estates in Massachusetts, so your family is not surprised after you are gone at how much they owe the state and federal governments. It’s important to speak with an experienced estate tax planning attorney about all of your questions.