One of your goals throughout your life has no doubt been to take advantage of the work that you do in Woodland Hills to save up assets to benefit your future generations. Several of those that we here at The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo have had the privilege of working with shared to same goal, only to come to us concerned that their estates would be greatly depleted by taxes. It is a legitimate concern, but one that you may not even need to worry about.
The federal government has established an estate tax threshold. If the taxable value of your estate is under this amount, it is not subject to the federal estate tax. According to Forbes Magazine, the value of the threshold in 2017 was $5.49 million per individual. Yet even if the value of your estate is above that amount, you can utilize your one-time marital deduction to leave all of your assets to your spouse. In such a case, none of the assets would be taxed.
You can also combine yours and your spouse’s estate tax exemptions to protect as much as $11 million for your beneficiaries. This is known as portability. However, it is not an automatic benefit. Your spouse must file an estate tax return electing it in the same year of your death. If not, he or she can only protect up to his or her individual exemption amount. A failure to elect portability may also expose his or her estate to taxes (when it otherwise would not have been) if you use your marital deduction when you die.
California does not impose an estate tax or inheritance tax if yours is below the federal threshold. More information on estate tax planning can be found here on our site.