The surviving family members of today’s millionaires stand to lose the most when their loved one passes away. Yet despite their wealth and business knowledge, more than one third of today’s affluent families haven’t taken the steps to protect their assets when they die.
According to a CNBC Millionaire Survey, 38% of individuals with more than $1 million worth of investable assets have yet to create an estate plan. The remaining 62% have.
Those who had $5 million or more in assets were more likely to create an estate plan than those who had between $1 million and $5 million. The poll surveyed 750 millionaires.
Some experts blame the constant changes in U.S. estate tax laws over the last decade for the “estate planning fatigue” many millionaires are feeling. Each time a new change was made, advisors would reach out to their clients to ensure their documents were up to date. Eventually, clients started saying “enough is enough.”
With the estate tax exemption amount now at $5.43 million, many wealthy families are making estate planning a lesser priority. Married couples can even combine their exemptions to give away nearly $11 million tax-free this year.
Unfortunately, many people tend to view estate planning merely as a way to minimize estate taxes. When families realize they don’t have to pay estate tax, many start believing they don’t have to do any planning at all.
What many don’t realize is that many states levy their own estate tax, and the threshold is much lower. New Jersey, for example, has an exemption of $675,000.
Of course, estate planning is about so much more than just “estate taxes”; it’s about protecting your assets and ensuring that your wishes are carried out. And if you have young children, an estate plan will ensure that your children wind up in the custody of a person of your choosing.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.