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Are the wealthy experiencing estate planning fatigue?

Research suggests that individuals who hold more than $1 million in assets but less than $5 million are not taking proper advantage of estate planning measures that would serve to protect those assets from loss due to excessive taxation after death. One survey reveals that as many as one third of wealthy individuals in Oklahoma and elsewhere do not have any form of estate planning measures in place. While those with more than $5 million tend to take steps to protect their wealth, individuals and families with less than that amount seem to neglect those needs.

One explanation offered for this set of circumstances is called estate planning fatigue. The term is used to describe a scenario in which an individual becomes so overwhelmed with changes in estate taxation laws that he or she simply throws in the towel and stops trying to stay ahead of the curve. This is tied to the decade of changes that left individuals unsure of how their assets might be taxed after death. During that period of time, many people made numerous changes to their estate planning approach and grew tired of addressing the issue.

The estate tax shifts came to a halt with the passage of new rules in 2013. Now, individuals are assured that they will incur no federal estate tax on assets up to $5.43 million per individual, and double that amount per married couple. This means that the time is right to make estate planning choices that will last.

For those in Oklahoma who have amassed a base of wealth that exceeds $1 million, there are a range of estate planning measures that can help protect that wealth from excessive taxation. Trusts form the backbone of many estate planning approaches, but there are many other choices that can be put to use to create a customized solution. A new stability has been reached in the matter, and it is time for many to revisit the issue, despite their current or past level of estate planning fatigue.  

Source: wealthmanagement.com, ""Rich" Suffering from "EP" Fatigue?", July 13, 2015

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