Often my clients ask me about California estate tax and any effect it may have on estate planning. Surprisingly, California does not have its own estate tax. This is counter intuitive as California is generally a high tax state and many other states have a state level estate tax.
What California does have however is a highly onerous probate process which takes a percentage of your assets like a tax. Any estate in California that has gross assets in excess of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars outside of a trust is subject to probate and the associated statutory fees.
For most people, having a revocable living trust based estate plan is necessary to avoid probate. Please contact me to schedule a free consultation about how to avoid the probate “tax” in California.