Q. My mother recently moved to a nice, affordable retirement community. She would like to make me a gift of $13,000 per year tax-free for the next three or four years so that she can share my inheritance with me while she is still alive. I appreciate this, and it sure will help in our present economic situation. She is fearful that her retirement community is like Big Brother and watching every withdrawal she makes. She has more than enough money to last her through her lifetime, and she's not a crazy spender. If she does run out of money, is there some way that they could "kick her out" because she gave away money? Her community is a nonprofit organization, and she is too afraid to ask someone in authority. She has always been a little paranoid about money, and I have no idea of how to find out if these gifts would be OK.

A. I am virtually certain that the community asked to see some financial figures before she was allowed to move in. This allowed them to evaluate the likelihood that her money will last as long as she does. The document that she signed as a prerequisite to moving in undoubtedly contains the answer you're looking for, together with their policy regarding those who do run out of money. One other point. If she chose not to reveal all of her assets, she may still give the unrevealed assets as gifts.

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