10 Ways to Improve Your Finances Before Year-End

By Ben Steverman - 2011-12-12T16:43:49Z

Photograph by Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

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Give to Relatives

"This is one of the best times in history for estate planning," says PNC's Immel. Federal tax laws are favorable to wealthy people passing on their fortunes. At the end of 2012, several of these provisions expire, including a $5 million exemption for estate taxes and gift taxes (it'll go back to $1 million). Before year-end you can also give $13,000 to each individual on your gift list without denting that exemption. The IRS also allows you to lend money to relatives at low rates. In December, the rate is 0.2 percent on a loan of up to three years.