Wishing You and Yours Happy Holidays!
Like each of you, our lives - personal and professional - were fundamentally changed this past year due to the pandemic. As we close in on the end of the year, it's time to reflect upon those memories we can celebrate, enjoy close family in a safe manner, and to look forward to a new year in which we'll hopefully return to something approaching normal. As most of you know, we're still unable to meet with clients in-person in our office with the sole exception of estate plan signings due to State restrictions. The good news, however, is that we're even more available than we've ever been thanks to video, telephone consultations and working from home. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need anything from us.
With that said, as we have done for the past many years our office will close on December 23, 2020 at 4:30 PM and will reopen on January 4, 2021 at 8:00 AM. For the coming year, our office schedule will mirror that of the Courts. At the bottom of this email is our holiday schedule for 2021.*
* UPDATE - Monday, December 21, 2020, 3:53 PM - Unfortunately, due to unprecedented increase in COVID-19 cases in Orange County, the lack of available hospital facilities, and other factors we've determined it is in our clients' and our best interest to physically close our office at the end of the day today, December 21, 2020 and return as scheduled above on January 4, 2021. We will continue working and our phones will be answered between now and December 23, 2020, and we can be reached by email but nobody will physically be in our offices through January 3, 2021.*
New in 2021 - Yourefolio
This coming year, we'll be rolling out a new service for our existing and new estate planning clients. The service - Yourefolio.com - will provide a number of tools related to the ongoing management of your estate plan. These include flowcharts explaining how your estate plan works, estate analysis, an inventory of assets and a secure repository for your estate planning documents. For existing clients who've signed an estate plan, we'll begin rolling this out to you mid-to-late-January. For clients who have not yet signed a new estate plan, we'll be adding this to your estate planning process beginning early January. We think this will become a great tool for ongoing management and maintenance of your estate plan and planning needs.
Also New in 2021 - Proposition 19
One of the biggest changes for us as estate planners heading into a new year will be the implementation of some significant property tax changes in 2021. The California property tax "Parent-to-Child" exclusion from reassessment has been overhauled by what many call the most complex ballot initiative in recent history, and unfortunately for some this means making a pretty significant decision between now and the implementation date of February 16, 2021. Property transferred before February 16, 2021, from Parent to Child may still be eligible for the existing exclusion; however, after the implementation date only very limited transactions will be able to take advantage of the exclusion.
In its simplest form, the question in light of this change in the law is whether to gift real estate now to preserve the property tax reassessment exclusion, or wait and transfer it to your children via your estate plan after you've passed. If your children intend to retain the property long-term, it may be best to gift it now and avoid an increase in property taxes. If, however, they intend to sell the assets, you'll want to wait and let them inherit the property. While they lose the property tax exclusion, they get the benefit of a step-up in basis for capital gains tax treatment.
The impact of the change in law is less of a legal issue and more a financial/tax issue. I recommend that clients speak with their tax advisers about the change, and if appropriate ask that they prepare an analysis of gifting now versus bequeathing by inheritance after your spouse and you have passed. While we'll provide some further guidance on the issue, it's one that that really does require a CPA or Tax Attorney's formal opinion before taking any measures to mitigate the change in law.
Carol, Mary, Jerry and I wish you the absolute best this Holiday season, and hope that in spite of the challenges we face, you'll be able to enjoy your immediate family and take some time to recover from a challenging year.
The Gibbs Law Firm, APC 2021 Holiday Schedule
Martin Luther King Day - Monday, January 28, 2021
President's Day - Monday, February 15, 2021
Cesar Chavez Day - Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Memorial Day - Monday, May 31, 2021
Independence Day - Friday, July 2, 2021
Labor Day - Monday, September 6, 2021
Columbus Day - Monday, October 11, 2021
Veteran's Day - Thursday, November 11, 2021
Thanksgiving - Close at Noon, Wednesday November 24, 2021, Reopen Monday, November 29, 2021
Year-End Holiday Schedule - Close Friday, December 24, 2021, Reopen Monday, January 3, 2022
The Gibbs Law Firm, APC
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