Is Inheritance Taxable In California?

What Is Inheritance Tax, And Does It Apply In California?

There is no inheritance tax in California. Many state inheritance taxes were phased out when the federal government enacted the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act—California was one of them.

Furthermore, new legislation in California must be approved by a majority of the state's residents. As a result, since 2005, California has had no inheritance tax regulations.

los angeles estate administration lawyer

However, federal income tax legislation continues to apply, even though, as previously indicated, California did not have a state income tax in 2019. In addition, the California legislature recently attempted to pass legislation that would have reinstated the California estate tax. Instead, it imposed a new gift and generation-skipping tax on California residents beginning January 1, 2021.

What's The Difference Between Inheritance Tax And Estate Tax?

Many people confuse an estate tax with an inheritance tax since the two are seemingly the same. However, the most crucial distinction between the two taxes is who pays the tax:

  • When an estate tax is applied, the person who owns the estate is the one who pays the tax.

  • In an inheritance tax, the person who inherits the property is responsible for paying the tax.

To summarize, an estate owner is in charge of paying the estate tax, while the person inheriting is in charge of paying the inheritance tax.

los angeles estate planning lawyer

There is another distinction between an inheritance tax and an estate tax. Both determine the fair market worth of a deceased person's property as of the date of death, which is usually the day of death. However, here's how they differ:

  • An estate tax is levied on the estate before its assets are distributed.

  • An inheritance tax is levied on beneficiaries as they receive assets.

If you need someone to address your concerns about estate and inheritance, contact a California Estate Attorney to help you. A lawyer will be able to answer your important questions, help you file the right documents, and protect your rights.

Do You Need To Pay Upon Claiming Your Inheritance?

An estate tax is based on the total value of a deceased person's money and property. It is deducted from the decedent's assets before any transfer to beneficiaries.

As previously stated, the estate tax is a federal tax imposed on transferring an estate's assets before they are distributed. Only estates valued at more than $11.58 million are subject to the federal estate tax.

Inheritance tax is a tax that is levied on an asset that you receive as a gift. Any debts owed by the estate will be paid by the estate before any inherited assets are distributed.

On the other hand, on the federal level, the portion of an estate over $11.4 million is subject to a 40% federal estate tax. One of the advantages of an estate tax is that it is collected before the legacy is distributed, so you will not have to worry about it. The value of the assets you receive from someone's estate is used to calculate the inheritance tax, which means that you, the person inheriting, would be liable for paying it if it applied.

estate planning attorney


While inheritance is not taxable in California, estate taxes are still in effect under federal law. However, estate taxes are paid before the estate is distributed as an inheritance.

So if you're a beneficiary, you don't have to worry about taxes. However, if you are the one who owns the estate, you still have to pay taxes before transferring assets.

Find A California Estate Planning Lawyer Near Me

Need someone to manage your inheritance? is a Free Lawyer Referral Service that helps connect you with a California Estate Lawyer best fit to handle your legal concerns.

Contact us through our submission form or 24/7 live chat for a free case review.

los angeles attorney referral service

California State Bar Certified Lawyer Referral And Information Service is a California State Bar Certified and approved Lawyer Referral and Information Service.

We provide unbiased and impartial lawyer referrals. This service isn't owned nor operated by lawyers receiving. referrals.


Our objective is that you receive the best comprehensive, high-quality legal representation while holding California attorneys to the highest standards of professional conduct.

Why Lawyer Referrals Matter


The California State Bar investigates on average 16,000 complaints of professional misconduct by attorneys annually.

We offer unbiased California attorney referrals and conduct due diligence by researching and recommending the best local attorney for your case. 


We verify attorneys are in good standing and have the required experience in the type of law related to your legal issue. 

Learn more about attorney discipline here:


Our History 


Since 2005, we have assisted people who need legal representation but whose ability to locate reputable California Lawyers is frustrated by unreliable law firm marketing of self-promoting lawyers and biased legal advertising.

How the LRS Works 

Anyone seeking competent and honest legal representation in California, can request a FREE lawyer referral. 

Once you submit your case details online, our legal 24-hour legal department will review your claim and reply via email. Most cases are reviewed and answered within 15 minutes. 


A free 30 minute consultation with the attorney will be offered to each referred client. 

A representative will follow up a few days later via email with the client after receiving a referral for quality management purposes, or to obtain the status of the case. 

About lawyers from our network

California lawyers in our network are insured, in good standing with the California State Bar, and have substantial experience in their practice area.


Attorneys are available in most areas of law throughout Southern California. Every lawyer in or network has been vetted for:

  • Credentials

  • Education

  • Communication skills

  • Performance

  • Client reviews

  • Fair legal fees

  • Continuing education

  • Professional affiliations

Additionally, we conduct criminal  background checks and attorneys are always monitored by our service.  

How to find the best lawyer for your legal case: 

1. The fastest way to have your legal issue reviewed by one of our attorneys is to send your details online.


Your information will go directly to our 24 hour legal department bypassing our call center. You will get a reply via email within 15 minutes. 

2. You may also inquire about your legal issue via chat where you can get more information related to different areas of law that apply to your case.

3. By calling our lawyer referral hotline 661-310-7999. However, our agents are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. Due to high call volumes, it's highly recommended that you use option # 1 above.