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Estate Planning Blog

How Does The New Tax Law Affect Your California Estate Plan?

Good News!! As of January 1st, of 2018, the estate tax exemption threshold was effectively doubled for estate gift and generation-skipping inheritance taxes for tax years 2018 - 1025. This means no inheritance tax for the heir of an estate of $11.2 million for single persons and $22.4 million for couples (based on the law allowing a sharing of tax exemptions between couples called "Portability").

Compare this to the $5.49 million for a single person in 2017. If you live in North County San Diego (Carlsbad, Solana Beach, Oceanside, Escondido, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, San Marcos), your home has been exponentially increasing in value over the last ten years and, with savings, your estate could exceed that amount. So, for example, anything over that amount left to your heirs would be taxed at the inheritance rate of 40% or more.

Your will may not be the only estate planning document you need

Having your end-of-life affairs in order could make your passing easier on your family. Your estate plan should include a variety of information that you wish to provide to your family regarding the distribution of your assets and how to handle specific estate-related tasks. In order to have a complete estate plan, you may need several different documents.

One of the primary documents you may want to utilize is your will. This document has a versatility that allows you to include a range of information you could find applicable to your estate planning needs. However, you may not want to consider your will the place for every detail you want to provide. Some information may have a more suitable place elsewhere.

Strategies for high-net-worth estate planning

A good estate planning formula covers all your bases. Gaining an understanding a few simple concepts can help you build a strategy for estate planning that provides optimal disbursement of funds and protection for your later years. 

If you are an individual with a high net worth, knowing how your decisions can affect estate taxes, help you avoid probate and plan for your potential incapacitation can prove invaluable to your legacy. These three areas come with a myriad of different options from which to choose, and everyone's situation is unique. However, with proper guidance and support, you can gain much-needed peace of mind from knowing that your estate is properly protected and your final wishes will all someday be granted.

Are you at risk of needing long-term care?

You, like many other individuals, may try to live a healthy lifestyle. However, unexpected health issues could affect anyone, and try as you might, you could still face health concerns at some point in your life. This predicament could prove especially difficult to handle if the problems occur later in life, and you end up needing long-term care. Though you undoubtedly hope to get the care you need at whatever age you may need it, handling the expenses of long-term care as an elderly individual can cause issues.

Rather than waiting until the need for such care lands in your lap, you may wish to take proactive steps to prepare for the costs associated with a nursing home stay or other method of extended care. Knowing your likelihood of suffering an incapacitating illness or injury may also help you plan ahead.

Reasons to consider appointing a power of attorney

It's hard to think about the possibility of losing the ability to make your own decisions. It's heartbreaking to see your family members lose that ability. It's even harder if you literally can't do anything to help them, like canceling their cable bill or paying their electricity bills because you do not have legal authority to do so.

This is a frightening thought, and it is one that people sometimes avoid thinking about until it is actually needed. Creating a plan now will save your family a lot of difficulty later on.

What to include in your will

Just about every adult, no matter their age, should have a will and testament. In the event the unimaginable happens, you want your surviving loved ones to know exactly how you want your assets to be handled. Here is some information about what should and what shouldn't be included in your will and testament.

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