A frequent question we often receive is whether our client’s loved ones will have to pay taxes on their inheritance. In several states, an inheritance tax is imposed by the state. Sometimes, the threshold is as low as one million dollars, meaning that anything you leave behind in addition to that amount will be taxed at whatever rate is required by the state.
The state of California does not currently impose a tax on your estate after you pass away. So the only estate or inheritance tax your family has to be concerned with is the federal estate tax. Currently, this is the tax that only applies to the very wealthy. Under current law, each person can leave behind around twelve million dollars, double that for married couples, before estate tax kicks in.
So it’s not every family that has to pay this tax. For those families that may be subject to estate tax, irrevocable trusts are often used to transfer assets out of your estate and lower your tax exposure. Note that it’s likely that the twelve-million-dollar threshold will be cut to six million dollars in 2026, bringing more families into the estate tax net.
Contact a San Diego estate planning attorney to guide you through the legal system.