A phenomenon has been observed among the nation’s wealthy, and has begun to be referred to as “estate planning fatigue.” This condition exists when an individual or family grows weary of trying to stay ahead of estate tax changes, and simply throws in the towel and neglects to create a viable estate plan at all. Recent research suggests that individuals in Ohio and elsewhere who earn between $1 million and $5 million are especially vulnerable to estate planning fatigue.
Most people who have accumulated a significant level of wealth are aware that they need to take steps to protect those assets from excessive taxation. In the decade preceding 2013, many heeded the advice of their estate planning attorneys and financial advisors, and made a number of changes aimed at keeping pace with the shifting estate tax laws. In 2013, however, the amount of wealth that an individual could pass down free of estate taxes was raised to $5.43 million.
This led many people who have assets valued below that amount to feel as if they had no further need to work to avoid the estate tax. Having spent so much time and effort working toward that goal in previous years, many simply stopped all estate planning efforts. Unfortunately, this had left many with inadequate protection when it comes to passing on wealth.
The estate tax is just one aspect of estate planning. Individuals and families have a wide range of other needs in regard to passing down wealth to their intended heirs. Avoiding probate is at the top of that list, but there are numerous other benefits to creating a comprehensive estate plan. No one in Ohio should feel as though their estate planning needs have been eliminated simply because they can now avoid the federal estate tax.