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Repeal of federal estate tax may not affect many people

California residents may be curious about what they'll need to worry about in terms of estate planning should the federal estate tax be repealed. President Donald Trump's campaign platform included his desire to repeal the federal estate tax, which currently stands at 40 percent. However, proper estate planning is still important to ensuring that the owner's wishes are carried out.

For 2017, the federal estate tax exemption is $5.49 million per person and $10.98 million for a married couple. As a result, very few people will be subject to it. However, California and several other states have their own version of an estate tax, and in many cases the exemption is far lower. Accordingly, those planning to pass their assets down will likely still need the help of an estate planning attorney to ensure that beneficiaries receive as much as possible.

Even without considering the estate tax, there are other matters to consider in estate planning. For example, it's important to have powers of attorney that would allow a trusted agent to make certain financial and other decisions should the principal become incapacitated. Parents will also need to determine who would be the guardian of their minor children should they pass away.

Many high-net-worth individuals have stopped worrying about the federal estate tax and have instead begun to focus on better estate planning in general. This way, assets such as life insurance and retirement benefits are still sure to go to the right people at the right times. An estate planning attorney can help to draft the documentation required to protect assets for beneficiaries, draw up a trust, and help to ensure that assets are handled according to the client's wishes.

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