A recent survey from CNBC.com shows that there are differences in how the wealthy perceive the need for estate planning, and not all millionaires behave the same way. There are differences between families at the $1 million – $5 million level and those with $5 million and more. However, a significant number of millionaires do not have an estate plan, and part of that may be due to estate planning fatigue.
According to a poll of 750 millionaires, individuals with $5 million or more (68%) were more likely to seek help with estate planning, compared to individuals with $1 million to $5 million in assets (61%). The survey, conducted by CNBC.com, reports their findings in a recent article: “Wealthy suffer from 'estate-planning fatigue'.”
The political break down was as follows: Republicans (68%) were more likely to use an estate planning expert to create an estate plan than Democrats (61%) or Independents (58%).
The article says that the constant changes to the federal estate-tax law for nearly 10 years (until this was made permanent in 2013) left many rich folks in "estate-planning fatigue." Those estate planners interviewed in the article point out that our country has had quite a bit of uncertainty with estate taxes. Each of the changes led attorneys and advisors to contact their clients and encourage them to keep their documents up-to-date and to incorporate the changes as needed. Finally, clients said they’d had their fill.
In addition to this, the higher federal estate-tax exemption amount—now at $5.43 million per person—has also made estate planning less of a priority for many wealthy families. Many people believe estate planning is just for reducing estate taxes, the article explained. So if they don't have to pay estate tax, they may feel like there’s really no reason to do any estate planning.
However, bear in mind that there are still 15 states that impose their own estate taxes, and these can become applicable at much lower thresholds. For instance, the exemption for New Jersey is $675,000 and Rhode Island's is $921,655. Based on where you live, estate taxes may still be an issue.
So there’s a lot to cover with an estate planning attorney.
Speak with an experienced estate planning attorney because there’s a lot more to this than the size of one's taxable estate.
Reference: CNBC.com (June 29, 2015) “Wealthy suffer from 'estate-planning fatigue'”