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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Figuring Taxes and Gifts into Your Sacramento Estate Planning

January 11, 2013

There are a lot of important reasons to spend time working with a wills and trusts lawyer in Sacramento. In addition to making sure your wishes are clearly defined and legally valid, there is also the issue of saving your beneficiaries from paying excessive taxes on what they inherit.

In estate planning circles, the story of Sam Walton of Walmart fame is referred to often. Because Walton and his lawyers were savvy, his family managed to inherit approximately $86 billion in stock without paying any estate tax. This was possible because wills and trusts lawyers advised him on how to use gifts as a way to avoid many taxes.

The Magic Number

While things could certainly change, things are currently looking even better today than they were in his time. This is because individuals are now allowed to give away up to $5 million of their estate without having to pay what are known as “gift taxes.” This is different from what it has been in the past and what may lie ahead in the future.

In order to take advantage of what is currently on the books, it makes sense to meet with a wills and trusts lawyer in Sacramento as soon as possible. The attorney will advise you on what the current laws are both federally and in California. You will also be able to get advice on how best to give gifts so that it impacts your estate for the better and limits the amount of taxes that will be paid out of the estate and by those who inherit from it.

A Widespread Reach

While $5 million is certainly a lot of money, it’s not inconceivable for many people to have significantly more in their estates than they originally think. This is because your estate in Sacramento includes everything you own, from your own personal residence to a business, as well as retirement funds, life insurance, and stock. Add to that the value of your vehicles, personal possessions, home furnishings, etc., and you can see how things do start to add up.

And just because $5 million is the current magic number doesn’t mean that it won’t likely be reduced considerably in the years to come. An wills and trusts lawyer in Sacramento can help you uncover the true value of your estate so that you can determine how to make gifts now that will benefit everyone involved later.

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