Do you want to pay estate taxes? No?
Well, if you haven’t planned, you might be paying them anyway. When you made your Will, did you leave any money to the government? No way, right? You might be wrong about that. Most of us don’t want to leave any money to the government in our estate plans. We’ve given them plenty already, we say, paying our income taxes every year, as well as all the other taxes we pay. We want to leave our money to our families. What if I told you the government might very well be one of your beneficiaries, and you don’t even know it? Would you do something about it? If so, then you’re smart. But most people don’t. If you don’t do anything, it’s the same as if you named the government as a beneficiary in your Estate Plan. And the reason for this is because of Estate Taxes. While the current exemption level is high, it will not always stay that way. Do millionaires only pay an estate tax, and this would be no. It’s paid by regular folks, who pay it because they haven’t planned, never realized they’d have to pay it, and chose not to educate themselves. They took no action. Do the opposite, take action, and fix the problem.
First of all, what are estate taxes? Here in California, we only contend with federal estate taxes as there is no California Estate Taxes. But if you don’t retire and plan to live the remainder of your years in California, then you may face State taxes as well. In 2019, the federal estate tax only affects the top one percent of Americans. A decedent’s taxable estate has to include assets of at least 11.4 million for an individual, and a married couple will only be subject to federal estate tax if they have assets over 22.8 million.