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Inheriting Property

Losing a loved one is a taxing time – both emotionally and financially. From making funeral arrangements, to notifying loved ones, to simply learning how to live again, coping with the death of a loved one can be exhausting. And, while everyone’s reaction to loss is different, what doesn’t differ are the financial and practical implications Californians must face when inheriting property.

California abolished its state inheritance tax back in 1982. However federal taxes are another matter. Beneficiaries — those inheriting property on the death of another — may have to pay an estate tax (currently at 40%) in cash within 9 months of the date of death, or face significant financial penalties.

An estate plan — especially one that is set up with important documents like a will and trust deed — will help a family distribute the decedent’s property according to their wishes after death. But if your loved one died without an estate plan or without a will (called intestate), their property will most likely go through Probate. Probate is the legal and administrative process to distribute a person’s estate after their death, which can be time-consuming and costly.

Untangling the legal ramifications of inheriting property requires experience and deep knowledge of estate planning and tax law. It also requires sensitivity and tact, especially if blended families are involved. Hanley Law has experience in representing Executors, Trustees, and Beneficiaries in Probate, as well as Trust Administration. Whether an estate is modest or large, they help with:

  • Settling and distributing an estate
  • Counseling on the tax implications of inheriting real property
  • Protecting a property’s Prop 13 tax basis
  • Ensuring proper titling and deeding with real property transfers
  • Providing estate loans to bridge short-term cash needs during the Trust or Probate Administration process