Avoid tax when gifting down payment

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DEAR BENNY: Our son is looking to buy a house and we promised to help him with the down payment, or part thereof, of approximately $100,000. What is the best way to do that to avoid any gift taxes? Can we give him the money as part of his future inheritance, which won't be taxable up to a certain amount? Or can we give him the money and ask for a promissory note, and then my husband and I both can "give" him $12,000 yearly until the note is paid off? He also plans to get married in the very near future. If he does and then later gets divorced, how can he make sure that that portion of the house plus appreciation will be solely his? --Margareta DEAR MARGARETA: As of Jan. 1, 2009, you can give up to $13,000 to your son (or anyone) and it will have absolutely no tax consequences for either party. In fact, you and your husband can give up to $26,000. But that amount will not be enough to help him buy that house. I don't like the idea of calling the money his future in...