Happy Holidays! Plus Tax Law Changes for 2021

Greetings friends, clients and colleagues…

San Diego Estate Planning Attorney, Kristina Hess shares about tax law changes for 2021

What a year 2020 has been! We sincerely hope and pray you are well and healthy. We know for some this is a challenging time of year if you have lost loved ones and our thoughts and prayers are with you for comfort, peace, and strength during these challenging times.

We have all suffered some this year and we are sending you all light and love for better tomorrows. We mourn with those who mourn. We rejoice with those who rejoice and celebrate new houses, new children, new jobs, business success, marriages, and new grand babies! Peace and joy to all! Kristina and the KR Hess Law Team: Elizabeth Herring, Kimberly McKittrick, Halecia Wasserman, Lee Trahan and Lee Polzin.

Elizabeth is currently on leave and she and her husband welcomed the birth of their second son, Levi!

Thank you for voting KR Hess Law Best Trust and Estate Planning Attorney on the SD North Coast for the 4th Time! We so appreciate your referrals to friends and family!

Tax Law Changes

There have been a lot of tax law changes this year and it could be there are more tax increases on the horizon!

From the SECURE ACT which went into effect on January 2, 2020 and eliminated the Stretch IRA for inherited retirement accounts; to Proposition 19 which practically eliminates the Parent-Child Exclusion from Property Tax Reassessment on Inherited Properties—2020 was a big year for tax law changes.


Changes for Retirement Funds Payable to Beneficiaries

The SECURE Act eliminated the Stretch IRA on inherited IRAs. Those of you with IRA Legacy Trusts or with pre-2020 Living Trusts that have retirement account assets flowing into the Trust for children and/or grandchildren may need to make changes to the IRA Trust language so that it complies with the SECURE ACT. There are no required minimum distributions under the SECURE Act, but all of the retirement funds must be withdrawn by 10 years after the death of the IRA owner (subject to certain exceptions, for spouses, those within 10 years of age, minor children and those with disabilities). Your beneficiaries will still benefit from the TRUST as it provides asset protection and can control the distributions on the retirement funds. IRA Trust updates for current clients only $595.

Prop 19

Huge Property Tax Increase Goes Into Effect on February 16, 2021 on Parent to Child Transfers

Proposition 19 Practically Eliminates the parent child exclusion from property tax reassessment on inherited properties.

If you have owned real estate in California for years and you were planning on passing your home and other investment properties to your children on your death, while preserving your low property taxes, the clock is ticking.

Proposition 19 will go into effect on February 16, 2021 and will almost eliminate the Parent-Child Exclusion that currently exists on property tax reassessments.

Current Rules for Primary Residence: 

Under the current rules, a parent may transfer his or her personal residence of unlimited value to a child and the property taxes will not go up. For example, a home in Del Mar, that you bought for $200,000 for which you only pay $5000 in annual property taxes could be transferred to your child or children and the property taxes will not go up to the current fair market value. With the parent child exclusion the taxes will stay at the $5000 rate.

New Rule for Primary Residence:

Under Prop 19, a transfer of your primary residence to a child or children will only qualify for the exclusion from property tax reassessment on $1,000,000 above the assessed value, plus the child must make the home his or her primary residence to qualify!

Current Rules for Non-Owner Occupied Properties: 

In addition, under current rules, you can transfer up to $1,000,000 in other real property to your children and they keep your low property taxes (based upon $1m of assessed value – not current fair market value).

New Rule For Non-Owner Occupied Properties: 

Under Prop 19, a transfer from parent to child of non-owner occupied properties will result in a change of ownership and resulting increase in property taxes. The tax savings on transferred properties will soon be gone!

Act Now To Save Property Taxes on Parent to Child Transfers!

If you currently enjoy low property taxes on your home and/or other properties and were planning on passing these to your children, you have from now until February 16, 2021, to take advantage of the current exclusions before they are gone.

Contact KR Hess Law, PC today for a Prop 19 Property Tax Review.

With a special Irrevocable Trust you may be able to transfer properties to your children now and qualify for the current parent-child exclusion from reassessment AND potentially also preserve a step-up in cost basis on the property when you die.

There is a very small window to get this planning done before Feb 16. We have already been inundated with requests. We are able to offer a Prop 19 Review Meeting for qualified homeowners for a low fee of $495. If you engage in any trust planning, we will credit your review fee toward any trust planning fees. Act now, before it’s too late. *Priority will be given to current KR Hess Law Clients.

That’s it for now, but contact us with any questions about how the tax law changes might affect you.

Biden’s Tax Plan

Stay tuned, the proposals involve eliminating the Section 199A small business tax deductions, increasing income taxes, reducing the federal estate tax exemption to $3.5 million, reducing the Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Exemption to $1,000,000, Eliminating the Step-Up in Cost Basis when people die … We are hoping we can keep things as they are until the current laws expire in 2025, but it is definitely a moving target! We will keep you posted as things develop.

Now, for Some Good News …
CA Increases The Homestead Exemption

The homestead exemption provides a certain amount of protection from judgment creditors – those creditors who sued in court and obtained a legal judgment to collect money owed. A judgment creditor has the right to take several actions to collect the debt, including selling assets like vehicles and real estate.

Under the old law, you can only protect $75,000, $100,000 or $175,000, of your home’s equity from judgment creditors depending on a variety of factors, including marital status, age, income, etc.

Under the new law, $300,000 – $600,000 of a home’s equity can’t be touched by judgment creditors. The amount depends on the median sales of homes in the county where the property is. For those of us in Southern California, we will likely benefit from the higher homestead exemption amount. This protects a larger amount of equity in your primary home from creditors.

The current exemption is automatic but there are benefits if you file for the exemption – i.e. the proceeds will be protected up to six months after the sale. You can file on the county website or we can assist you for a flat fee of $125. The new rule goes into effect on January 1, 2021 (Assembly Bill 1885, which amends Section 704.730 of California’s Civil Code).

Time for a Review?

Premium Clients we review your plan and Family Wealth Inventory every January. All other clients receive a complimentary review every 3 years.