After learning who won the election, many of us went looking to the president’s campaign website for his policy choices. Those of us in the estate planning world took note of the industry-changing decision to repeal the federal estate tax. At this point, the federal budget is still working its way through congress before the new President has his say about what it should include, but it does looks likely it will not include a federal estate tax.
A California state representative, however, has seen the potential repeal of the federal estate tax as an opportunity. California Senator Scott Wiener proposed S.B. 726, which mirrors the current federal estate tax and would include a maximum 40% rate and an approximate $5.5 million lifetime exemption. The only major difference is the checks are cut to California instead of the United States. Due to the way California handled this issue in the past, even if S.B. 726 clears the State Senate it will need to pass a statewide public vote. This makes the bill unlikely to become a law.
Despite the hurdles in his way, it seems Senator Wiener took advise from the fake Teddy Roosevelt in the movie Night at the Museum, “…and who knows, sometimes the greatest change brings about even greater opportunity.”
For the curious, the full text of the proposed bill can be found here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB726