Here in California and in a majority of states across the country, the state government no longer charges an estate tax to residents. Estate tax, often referred to as the “death tax” by critics, is sometimes considered a redundant tax since the assets in an estate have typically already been taxed as income or have been subject to property tax or capital gains taxes at some point.
A form that was supposed to be an easy and inexpensive way to create a will turned out to be anything but that, according to a recent state court decision. The court wrote that the case provided a cautionary tale to others about estate planning and noted that some efforts to save costs early in the process could wind up costing much more down the line.
Now that this year’s tax season is official over (hopefully) for most California readers, tax and law experts know that it is time to start looking ahead and planning for what is to come. This might seem like an unwelcome task at the moment when you thought it was time to set taxes aside for a while, but there are some situations that require extra attention and planning, so it is better to start sooner than later.
The final wishes of actor Mickey Rooney have been revealed to the public through court filings after the 93-year-old passed away from complications from his diabetes and other natural causes. The actor left his estate mainly to one of his step-sons who had been acting as his caretaker in recent years.
The practice of estate planning is as old as civilization itself and the issue of what one leaves behind and to whom remains as relevant and complicated as ever. Laws in this area have evolved somewhat with the changing times but the basic issues remain the same – how to organize one’s affairs so that loved ones can benefit from remaining assets with as little difficulty as possible.