California 2015 Gift and Estate Tax Summary

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As I have discussed before, the 2015 federal estate tax exclusion is $5,430,000 per person, up from $5,340,000 per person last year and California does not currently have an estate tax (shocking). However, the taxable federal estate includes not only the net value of the property of the decedent, but also includes any lifetime taxable gifts made since 1977. Most of us will never need to worry about reaching that $5,000,000 plus estate bar, but politicians have been known to change their minds, and that number could very well come back down from the historically high level it is at today. For that reason, it is important to consider the types of gifts that are excluded from lifetime taxable gifts.

The most well known exclusion is any gift to a qualified charity. A gift to a qualified charity is not taxable either while a person is living or as part of their estate if the gift is made at death through a will or a trust. Along similar public policy lines, there are also unlimited gift exclusions for any medical or educational costs paid directly by a donor.

Another exclusion is the annual gift exclusion. In 2015, any person can give any other person $14,000 without the gift being taxable. This is the same as 2014. There is also a onetime aggregate gift exclusion amount that is equal to the estate tax exclusion of $5,430,000 in 2015. The annual exclusion also happens to be excluded from the onetime exclusion. The tax code once again amazes with its simplicity.

By using an irrevocable trust, a person can also take advantage of these gift exclusions while still retaining control over the assets until a certain point in the future. By making gifts, we can not only support causes or people whom we believe in, we can also lessen the chances of having to pay estate taxes one day. Please call my office for complimentary information about a variety of estate planning strategies.

Best wishes for a lovely holiday season, and a happy new year!

Please fill out the contact form to schedule a consultation in Walnut Creek, Mountain View, San Mateo, or San Francisco regarding estate planning, living trusts, or probate.

Daniel DuRee

Daniel DuRee

Daniel is a Bay Area estate planning and living trust attorney who understands not just the legal issues, but also the complex family dynamics involved in the estate planning and living trust process. His articles have been published in the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Community Focus, Clayton Pioneer, and Martinez Gazette.
Daniel DuRee

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5 San Francisco Bay Area Offices

Walnut Creek
Estate plans and living trusts

1535 North Main Street, Suite 240
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 210-1400

(925) 210-1400

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Estate plans and living trusts

800 West El Camino Real, Suite 180
Mountain View, CA 94040

(650) 933-7122

(650) 933-7122

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Estate plans and living trusts

951 Mariners Island Blvd, Suite 300
San Mateo, CA 94404

(415) 373-8335

(415) 373-8335

San Francisco
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75 Broadway Street, Suite 202
San Francisco, CA 94111

(415) 373-8335

(415) 373-8335

Marin County
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700 Larkspur Landing Circle, #199
Larkspur, CA 94939

(415) 373-8335

(415) 373-8335

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