As I mentioned last month, the IRS has increased the estate and gift tax exemption from $5.43 million in 2015 to $5.45 million effective January 1, 2016. If applied correctly, that means a couple can shield $10.9 million dollars from estate and gift taxes. Look for future posts to read how to do it right and the mysterious world of “portability.” The interesting state-related legislation revolves around the new “Transfer of Death Deed” to transfer real property without a trust and without probate (again, more on that to come).
I understand that not everyone finds tax laws and regulations following death quite as interesting as I do, so this one’s for you.
There are several new laws taking effect in California as of January 1, 2016. Many deal with driving, biking and public safety, while other focus on open and transparent dissemination of information. Here are just a few key laws that everyone should know:
– You may not wear earbuds or headsets in both ears while driving or biking (this does not apply to safety earplugs)
– You must be at least 16 years old to ride an electric skateboard (plus, you must wear a helmet and stay on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less)
– “Amber Alerts” will now include incidents of hit-and-run where there is a death or major injury
– An ignition interlock device, to test sobriety levels of drivers before a car will start, is required to be installed (at the owner’s expense) as a condition of receiving a restricted driver’s license, being reissued a driver’s license, or having the privilege to operate a motor vehicle reinstated subsequent to a conviction for certain DUI offenses (5 months for the first offense, one year for the second offense, two years for the third offense, and three years on a fourth or subsequent offense).
– All slow-moving vehicles (now including bicycles) are required to pull over safely to let traffic pass
– Only children with serious health problems will be allowed to opt out of school-mandated vaccinations. School-age children who are unvaccinated will need to be home schooled. (Does not take effect until July 1, 2016)
– Minimum wage increases to $10 per hour
– Cheerleaders who cheer for professional teams/athletes will be treated as employees, with the accompanying wage and hour protections
– (effective date TBD) All persons who apply for a driver’s license or state id will automatically be registered to vote, if qualified
– Proposals to place an initiative on a ballot is increased from $200 to $2,000