What do I Need to Know About Inheritance Law in California?

When creating an estate plan, there can be a lot of information to consider in one sitting in order to ensure you accomplish everything you want to. One of which can be if there are any tax implications that come with the plan. Trying to understand this can be overwhelming, which is why it is beneficial to retain the services of an experienced California estate planning attorney for guidance during this time.

What Taxes Does California Have?

In the state of California, residents are not required to file for state inheritance taxes. In addition to this, there is no estate tax either. While this is true, it is important to be aware of other taxes that need to be filed on behalf of the deceased. This can include:

  • Final individual federal and state income tax returns. These are due by tax day the year after the individual’s death.
  • Federal estate tax return. This is due nine months after the individual’s death. However, an automatic six-month extension is available if it is asked for before the conclusion of the nine-month period. It is important to know this is only required if the individual’s estate exceeds gross assets and prior taxable gift value of $11.4 million.
  • Federal estate/trust income tax return. This is due by April 15 of the year after the individual’s death.

Dying With a Will

When a person passes away with a valid will, the execution of that document is usually simple. Generally, a will has specific directions on how it should be carried out. However, the size of the will determines how involved the court must be in California. If the estate’s worth is at least $150,000, inheritance law requires a probate case to be opened with the court. This is needed so that the complex document can be handled in a timely fashion as well as to ensure the deceased’s last wishes are properly carried out. If the estate is worth less than $150,000, these court proceedings can be avoided. 

What is Community Property?

California is considered a community property state. This means that all property that a couple receives during the marriage becomes joint property. It is important to know this only applies to spouses and domestic partners. In these situations, according to California inheritance law, each person becomes the owner of half their community property as well as half of their collective debt. In the event that a person dies without a will in California, this property is controlled by the state and follows intestate succession. 

Contact our Firm

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Office of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.

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