It’s often difficult for us to think of the future as individuals, and even harder to think about it in terms of our larger counterparts, such as the businesses that we own and run. This is particularly true if it involves planning for the worst possible outcomes in our future, such as unexpected retirement, potential disability, or untimely death. When you build your own business and watch it flourish from the ground up, it can be disheartening to think of the possibilities of its disbandment or transfer to a new owner.
When a person hears the word “crime,” images of bank robberies or people being mugged in dark alleys easily come to mind. But violent crime isn’t the only form of crime. Crimes committed by business and government professionals with the intention of gaining a financial advantage, property, or services, without using violent means, is known … Read moreAll About White-Collar Crimes
It’s the new year and with that comes new goals! Usually, people vow to get in better shape or to save money for something big. However, we tend to start off strong and have no follow-through. Creating an estate plan is a lot like getting into better shape. We all know we should do it, but most of us never make it to the finish line because the task seems daunting.
In November’s recent election, California passed Proposition 19 (Prop 19), which has changed two important California property tax assessments that could have a lasting impact on your estate planning.
In 2017, a window was opened. And at the end of 2025, that window will close. This breath of fresh air was granted by the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, which increased the Basic Exclusion Amount (BEA) from $5 million to a new base of $10 million (indexed for inflation after 2011) for gifts and inheritances bestowed from 2017 through the end of 2025. Though there are many motivations for lifetime gift-giving, it is often a strategy to maximize the value of wealth and inheritance while minimizing its subjectivity to taxation as much as possible. An estate tax is technically calculated as a combined value of lifetime gifting and taxable estate, but lifetime gifting also has the added benefit of removing the appreciation of the amount gifted from the value of the estate, so the incremental amount is not subject to the estate’s overall taxation. And of course, there are some gifts that are exempt from taxation altogether, like annual exclusion gifts of $15,000 or less per recipient and direct payments of medical expenses or school tuition. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has opened a window of gifting for those looking at federal estate taxes, but this legislation has an expiration date of January 1, 2026, at which time the $10 million bases will revert back to the $5 million base and the ability to take advantage of the increased estate and gift tax exclusions will cease. We are currently in an important opening of opportunity that should not be missed.
As moratoriums in most areas of California have been extended and ongoing worry about evictions persist, landlords and tenants may find themselves in a predicament. As state government jurisdictions continue to protect tenants, the question then arises of what landlords can and should do about rent payments once moratoriums are lifted.
With our daily lives changing constantly during the current COVID pandemic, unforeseeable circumstances may prevent real estate owners and tenants from being able to complete the duties outlined in their rental contracts. This situation is referred to as Force Majeure, a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance happens beyond the control of either party.
With the introduction of the Setting Every Community Up For Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act in effect as of January 1, 2020, new and big changes have been made that affect one large aspect of retirement accounts: the payout process for beneficiaries. Previously, those who inherited someone’s retirement account were able to spread withdrawals from the account over the course of their lifetime. However, under the SECURE Act, beneficiaries are now required to withdraw all funds from an account within a 10 year period.