Samuel Ledwitz Article in the Fontana Herald News

Samuel Ledwitz Article in the Fontana Herald News

Lawyer explains how the rich can manage their money and their estate

Let’s face it: Most of the general public is not what would be considered rich. But have you ever wondered how you would manage your money and your estate if you were a gazillionaire?

Longtime estate planning attorney Samuel B. Ledwitz has. And he has some good financial tips in case the net worth of your estate grows quickly and excessively.

First of all, the rich have to think about estate taxes way more than anyone else. And for good reason, said Ledwitz, president and managing partner of estate planning law firm The Law Firm of Bezaire, Ledwitz and Associates.


“(The wealthy) have to worry about death tax more than the rest of us,” he said. “The exemption is just above $12 million per person. A husband and wife have that times two. If you die and your estate is less than $12 million, your estate does not get taxed.”

But what are the taxes on that kind of money?

“So, if you’re a married couple with an estate of more than $24 million, you might be worried,” Ledwitz said. “The tax rate is 40 percent. But the rich folks aren’t stupid. They figure out how to get that bill reduced or even eliminated. And there are ways.”

The first way to deal with this situation, Ledwitz said, is if you own property, which is something most wealthy people do.

“For example, if they have rental properties, they’ll create LLCs, which is short for limited liability companies,” he said. “A lot of people use LLCs for asset protection. But you can also do it for an estate value reduction. Basically, if you put your rental properties in an LLC it will devalue the property by 35 percent for IRS purposes.”

And why is this important?

“So, for every $1 million you put into the LLC, it loses $350,000 of value,” he added. “And at 40 percent, that’s saving you $140,000 in death tax per $1 million. It is possible to bring down the value of your estate quite quickly and save hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. There are strategies.”

One of those strategies is for people who want to give away their estate to charity, but still be personally benefitting from the estate while still alive, Ledwitz said.

“If you have a person who loves charity, you can get some current benefit while they’re alive and reduce their estate when they die,” he said. “You can set up a charitable remainder trust. The person can pick which charity or charities the estate would go to. The charity gets highly appreciated stock. And the person gets a write-off while they’re alive. And, of course, the remainder goes to the charity when they’ve died.”


And while this doesn’t directly affect the decedent’s heirs, there are things that can be done through this method that will help the family financially.

“Now, it doesn’t go to your family heirs,” he said. “But with that tax savings you turn around and buy a life insurance policy. You’ve taken taxable money and made it non-taxable. The reason why you made it non-taxable is you just put it in an irrevocable life insurance trust. That money then goes to your kids.

“The beautiful thing is we took an asset that would have had tax on it and gave it to charity and then got another asset in exchange that goes to your kids with no tax.”

Ledwitz added life insurance is a real good way to get cash in the hands of your family members when they might really need it without spending a ton to get it.

“The really cool thing about life insurance is that $1 million does not cost $1 million,” he said. “There’s always a way to leverage how much you’re purchasing to get more money. For example, if you’re someone who hates paying premiums, you can take a loan out on your rental properties and pay for the life insurance premium.”

He also said life insurance can come in handy to help pay bills right after your death, which is often a time when heirs are unsure about what needs to be paid and when.

“Life insurance is also important for your kids,” Ledwitz said. “Estate tax is owed in the first nine months from the date of death. If your kids, let’s say, don’t have enough money to keep your rental properties going and have to sell them in distress, possibly for a lot less than they’re worth, the money from a life insurance policy will help keep everything running smoothly until your kids can figure out what to do next.”

If you think you’re not rich enough for any of these scenarios, Ledwitz said think again. You might be before you know it due to certain current market forces and conditions.

“The need to do a lot of this will increase in the near future,” he said. “We have a bit of inflation. Real estate prices are going up. If you think you’re currently safe, very shortly you won’t be safe. You got to be doing this early.”

And on a final note, Ledwitz said there is one good thing about having your estate in California.

“In California, there is no inheritance tax,” he said. “Inheritance tax is a tax on the receiver of the inherited funds. Estate tax is basically a tax on the guy who died. In some states there’s a tax on both ends of the transaction.”

If you would like to discuss any aspect of a proper estate plan, call The Law Firm of Bezaire, Ledwitz and Associates at (626) 398-0100 or log onto


Practice Areas

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of establishing a Trust, Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and other related documents during your lifetime.

Estate Administration

Our firm helps Trustees and Executors comply with the many duties associated with the administration of an Estate.


Probate is the legal proceeding supervised by the Superior Court used to transfer title to assets when a person is deceased.

Estate Litigation

When the need arises to challenge, defend, or enforce a Will or Trust, our Lawyers will represent you in all legal proceedings.

Advanced Estate Planning

Families with substantial estates require additional strategies beyond a typical Estate Plan to reduce and offset Estate Tax liabilities.



When a person becomes incapable of managing their affairs, the court can appoint a Conservator. Our Attorneys will assist you with this process.

Our Locations

Long Beach

(562) 951-1400

Los Angeles

(310) 540-0879


(310) 316-2400

Costa Mesa

(714) 238-0030


(626) 398-0100

Palos Verdes

(310) 316-2400

The quickest way to get assistance is to contact us directly at 310-316-2400 or by emailing us at

Life Events

Young couple swings their daughter between them

New Families

Experiencing a change in family structure or size? Did you recently have a child or adopt a pet? If you want to ensure that a loved one is taken care of, then you need a smart estate plan. We offer simple solutions to get you started.
Senior couple of Asian descent hiking by ocean

Nearing Retirement

Have you established yourself but you want to ensure your legacy is protected? We can help you make sure everything is accounted for and provide creative plans to ensure your hard work will be cherished by your beneficiaries.
Father and daughter under umbrella by gravestone

Recent Loss

Are you seeking guidance during a time of loss? Have you been given the responsibility of arranging a loved one’s affairs? Allow our experienced attorneys to escort you through these steps with compassion and confidence.

Recent Blogs


There is a great deal of confusion and mythology regarding estate planning. It’s a subject that healthy, busy people really don’t want to think about. Understandably, the thought of suddenly becoming unable to function (due to disease or a catastrophic illness) and...

read more


WHY “DO IT YOURSELF/FILL IN THE BLANK” WILLS & TRUSTS OFTEN RESULT IN DISASTER Retaining the services and expertise of an attorney who can assist you in preparing a smart estate plan requires a serious investment of time and money. The benefits (however) far...

read more

Client Reviews

Ready to do business and handle any trust issues.
mary grimes
mary grimes
06:15 09 Jun 22
I’ve dealt with 3 different lawyers in regards to my will, my trust. and my LLCI’ve spent... thousands of dollars.This is by far the best experience I’ve had, he’s handling all that, eliminating the LLC, putting my houses back in my name, he’s fair and has a great attitude.I don’t have to go to another lawyer again!read more
Red Castro
Red Castro
06:58 31 May 22
Super friendly and helpful staff. Felt confident with their services from the start.
Roxanne Ramirez
Roxanne Ramirez
18:14 07 May 22
Samuel Ledwitz has been my attorney for years. Friendly, knowledgeable and accessible.
mary emily smiley
mary emily smiley
06:43 06 Mar 22
I am so pleased with everything about this law firm. Thank you Attorney Ledwitz for all your help... and information. Creating my Trust with your firm was a great experience and done in a timely manner. I will highly recommend your business to anyone. Once again, THANK YOU!read more
Jenniffeir Suarez
Jenniffeir Suarez
03:48 14 Jan 22
I heard about this firm through a friend of mine and decided to make an appointment to see them.I... was so impressed with how confidant and comfortable I felt putting my case in their more
Mercedes Morales
Mercedes Morales
21:01 19 Oct 21
Thank you Sam for all your help!
Desiree Gasca
Desiree Gasca
18:41 19 Oct 21
By Darren Chaker: Having dealt with San Diego attorneys too long, I was happy to accompany a friend... there office to update a trust. The staff was very professional, attorneys could articulate a response for any question posed. Definitely talented more
Darren Chaker
Darren Chaker
17:40 20 Oct 20
My wife and I completed our Estate Planning from The Law Firm of Bezaire. we were thinking about... having our estate planning done from last couple of years and it's all done .. Thanks to The Law Firm of Bezaire!!read more
Verna Gonzalez
Verna Gonzalez
19:15 12 Dec 19
We got our trust restated The Law Firm of Bezaire and we are very satisfied with the service we... have received. They answered all of our questions quickly and made this process easy for us. We would definitely recommend this firm to our friends and families. Thank you!read more
Gloria Smith
Gloria Smith
17:43 22 Nov 19
Fantastic firm!
Richard Knapp
Richard Knapp
02:52 10 Jul 19
The people there are just plain friendly and helpful. Couldn't get better service
Jill Gilliam
Jill Gilliam
20:54 25 Apr 19
I was referred by a very close family friend to Bezaire, Ledwitz and Associates to do my... Grandmother's Will and have me act as Power of Attorney for my Grandmother quite a few years back. Every time we needed legal assistance, the staff has always been professional and The Law Firm of Bezaire accommodating and because of this, I have always recommended their firm to others as wellread more
Bryan C. Carrington
Bryan C. Carrington
09:05 13 Feb 19
We’ve dealt with Bezaire, Ledwitz and Associates on numerous occasions for Estate Planning matters... and have been very happy with their services and friendly manner. They helped us with family estates, real estate and is our first choice for the updating of our wills in the near future. I strongly recommend more
James D. Barker
James D. Barker
09:36 12 Feb 19
My family and I have dealt with The Law Firm of Bezaire, Ledwitz and Associates numerous times for... Estate Planning matters - always finding them compassionate, approachable, and knowledgeable. I highly recommend more
Jack N. Goulet
Jack N. Goulet
04:24 12 Feb 19
The Law Firm of Bezaire did a last-minute will for my mother with very little advance notice. The... staff did a fantastic job!read more
Lathen Cheas
Lathen Cheas
04:20 12 Feb 19
only the best says it all !!! VERY happy with Mr. Samuel Ledwitz esq. and staff.Now I have peace... of mind thank-you .read more
Willow Jones-Heger
Willow Jones-Heger
22:46 07 Jan 19
We had a great experience dealing with Samuel Ledwitz when it was time to revise and update our... family trust and legal documents. We feel very confident that we are in very good hands, and that our estate and our legal affairs will be handled with the utmost professional and personal care. Highly more
Ann Imberman
Ann Imberman
21:42 22 Aug 18
I was very happy with how my estate planning was handled by Sam Ledwitz & Associates. I would... highly recommend this more
andrea mitchell
andrea mitchell
21:55 19 Jan 18

As Seen in...

Awards, Certifications and Accolades

Peer Endorsements

I have known Samuel Ledwitz for close to 20 years and he has always impressed me with his intelligence, wit and having a genuine concern for helping others. I would...
Jeffrey Townsend

Mediation Attorney

I specialize in probate & trust real estate, consequently I deal with many attorneys. Samuel is an estate planning attorney that truly stands out...
Paul Hargraves

Realtor, Trust Properties USA

I endorse this lawyer. Knowledgeable, compassionate, dedicated, honest, hard working...
Nadine Jett

Divorce / Separation Lawyer

Informative Videos