Frequently Asked Questions
1. My estate is small, do I really need an estate plan?
The answer is "yes" for everyone. You absolutely without a doubt need an estate plan in place immediately if you have minor children. If you have minor children, you need a will to designate who will be their guardians in the event you are no longer able to care for them. No matter the size of your estate, creating a revocable trust will enable you to select someone YOU know and trust to manage your assets. Without a trust, your assets will be probated and your children will receive the remaining funds at age 18. Even a modest estate will be too much money for most 18 year olds to handle. Don't forget, life insurance is part of your estate as well.
Even if you don't have children, estate planning will allow you, rather than the state of California, to determine when, where and to whom assets are distributed and who should supervise that process.
2. Does everyone need a trust?
No. For some people with small estates a stand alone will may be their best option. I work with each of my clients to choose the best plan for them given their family situation, the size of their estate and their estate planning goals.
3. How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?
Most clients will start with BASIC ESTATE PLAN. In general, a Basic Estate Plan that includes a revocable trust costs between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on the size of the estate, the nature of the assets and the complexity of the plan. After my initial consultation, I will quote you a flat fee depending on your needs. For advanced estate planning and other matters, I work on an hourly rate.
4. How large does an estate have to be before it incurs any estate tax? I
In 2020 each person is allowed to pass a total of $11.58 million free of estate or gift tax over the course of his or her life and upon his or her death. This means a married couple can pass $23.16 million. The amount you can pass free of estate or gift tax is indexed to inflation and automatically adjusted accordingly each year. However, in 2026 the estate tax exemption amount is scheduled to return to the substantially lower 2017 amount ($5 million) indexed to inflation.
5. How much money can I give to my children each year without paying gift tax? I
In 2020 the limit for annual exclusion gifts remained the same as in 2019. You can now make gifts of up to $15,000 per person per year without paying any gift tax. This amount is called the annual exclusion. Annual exclusion gifts do not count towards the $11.58 million lifetime exemption.
. . . . More Frequently Asked Questions Coming Soon