People in Northern California who have questions about estate planning may not initially know where to turn. Most people understand that it is a very important task, but busy people also know how easy it can be to put it off. The problem with putting it off is that nobody can see the future, and those who die or become incapacitated without a legally sound estate plan in place may leave their family and close friends in a very difficult position.
As Joan Rivers' passing last year illustrated, the proof of a person's domicile can have tremendous ramifications on a person's estate, in particular the amount of state estate tax a person may be liable for. California, which has not had an estate tax since 2005, would be a much more preferable state of domicile in Joan Rivers' case, as opposed to New York, where estate taxes can be upwards of 10 percent of the entire estate. Since Rivers spent time in both California and New York, the question of her true domicile is still up in the air, and it will be interesting to see how the court finds in this high profile case.
Comedy and entertainment pioneer Joan Rivers left a legacy of laughter and success to her family, as evidenced by the $150 million estate she left behind to family and loved ones. What nobody is laughing about, however, is the fact that an apparent ambiguity in her estate planning documents could end up costing her estate millions in state estate taxes, depending on the outcome of the case.
People in California may have seen an interesting financial news editorial in Forbes recently. The article discussed the ways in which estate planning can shield people from unnecessary taxation, but that is really only the beginning of the benefits that an estates and trusts attorney can provide to people with substantial estates and complex estate planning needs.
People in California know that steadily increasing taxes at the federal and state level can be a huge burden for older Americans, but Californians may not even realize that their burden is actually worse than those imposed in many other states across the country. According to a recent study, California is one of the nation's 10 least-friendly states when it comes to taxing retirees.
People in California may have seen a recent financial news article about the tremendous multi-trillion-dollar inheritance boom that is just getting underway here in the United States. According to a recently published paper, the Baby Boomer generation is set up to receive a whopping $8.4 trillion in collective inheritance over the next several decades. This isn't an isolated phenomenon; it could impact about 2/3 of all baby boomer households, with the average inheritance amounting to a sizeable $300,000 per household.