Considering California and Federal Taxes When Planning Your Estate
You have worked hard your entire life to build an estate. You certainly do not want to see it depleted because your attorney failed to provide you an estate plan that minimizes your tax liabilities. There are so many estate planning strategies available that the public must rely on trained professionals to help choose and implement the right ones. Despite the commonly-held belief, these strategies are not just for the ultra-rich. They often are very effective for families that have had to work hard to save for their future.
As Sacramento estate planning attorneys, we have had the unpleasant experience of having to tell a surviving spouse that the terms of their estate plan failed to give them all the tax benefits that they could have achieved. The unfortunate truth is that not every attorney that provides estate planning services knows how to implement these strategies, so they just do not present them to the client. Or, they simply do not recognize the opportunity to use one of these strategies. The result is the same – the survivors suffer an unnecessary tax burden at the same time that they are grieving the loss of a loved one.
A true measure of a skilled Sacramento estate planning lawyer doing their job well is that your estate plan incorporates the simplest effective tax planning strategy; complies with the relevant federal, state, and local laws; and does not tear your family apart.
Estate Taxes Overview
The following are just some of the tax issues your estate planning attorney must navigate:
- Federal estate taxes: These are generally applicable to large estates, and the tax laws temporarily repeal these taxes for the beneficiaries of persons dying in 2010. However, “experts” seem to think that Congress will enact retroactive laws that impose an estate tax in 2010 in some form. That form is still being debated.
- Gift taxes: You currently can give up to $13,000 (for 2010) to any number of individuals without you or the recipient incurring a tax liability. Gifts exceeding that amount create a tax liability for the person making the gift.
- Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) Tax: When you make a gift or transfer in trust to someone two or more generations younger than you, including nonrelatives who are more than 37-1/2 years younger than you, you may have to pay
- GST tax. This law carries a number of definitions on monetary limitations and which recipients would be included. Like the estate tax, the GST tax is repealed for 2010 unless Congress makes a retroactive change in the law.
- State taxes: The good news is that California no longer has no inheritance tax, or a California estate tax return.
A Long Term Relationship
Tax laws change. You need a long-term relationship with an estate planning firm that keeps you informed and will be there when you need to change your estate plan because of a change in the law, a change in your circumstances, or, regretfully, when your family needs them to help administrate your estate.
We are particularly proud of the relationships that we build with the families of our clients. We try hard to know both our clients and the next generation of their family so that the family can work with someone that they already know when they have to settle the affairs of their parents. This is one of the many reasons we have grown to be premier Sacramento estate planning attorneys.
Generations provides skilled estate planning, estate administration and tax planning. You can reach us today at 916-679-5550 or by email, contact us.
An integral part of the estate planning process, tax planning involves the arrangement of your affairs in a way to best reduce tax liability. A skilled estate planning attorney will ensure that your estate plan incorporates the simplest tax planning strategy possible to minimize the tax burden on your heirs and still comply with the relevant federal, state, and local laws.
An experienced estate attorney has up-to-date knowledge of the best ways to distribute your assets and can predict the impact those methods will have on estate tax, income tax, and capital gains tax liabilities. Given the complexities of today's federal and state tax laws, the legal advice of the attorneys at Generations can be extremely helpful in preserving your property, assets, and wealth for your family. Continue reading for more information on Tax Planning.