In a recent story & survey by CNBC, it has been shown that more then 1/3 of high net worth families do not have an estate plan set up. They have surely not taken the basic steps needed in the case that someone dies, to protect and provide for their loved ones.

The survey has shown that 38 percent of people with over then 1 million dollars in investable assets have yet to use a financial expert to set up an estate plan. This is a major mistake when it comes to estate planning.

National director of wealth-planning strategies for U.S. Trust,  Mitch Drossman, is not surprised at these numbers and blames it to be the uncertainty and changes to the federal estate-tax law over the last decade. He describes the frequent changes led to advisers and attorneys consistently needing to reach out to their clients to explain these changes and to be sure their documents were up to date. Clients eventually just had enough with it.

“I think people tend to think of estate planning as being primarily a means to reduce estate taxes, and therefore, if they don’t have to pay estate tax, they may feel they don’t have to do any planning,” said David Mendels. While estate planning can help reduce estate tax, it is much much more.  It elects guardians for minor children, it plans for a persons incapacity, it can help protect assets from creditors, or keep a person on governmental benefits with the implementation of a supplemental needs trust.

New York is actually one of 15 states that collect a state estate tax. Currently, New York’s estate tax is significantly below the Federal Estate tax exemption.  It is set to match the Federal Estate tax exemption in 2018.

Estate planning is about protecting your assets, and providing for your loved ones. It is also about protecting your wishes regarding end of life decisions and ensuring that the people you trust are the people handling your affairs if you are unable to.

Further along in the article it reads, “A durable financial power of attorney document is also necessary, as it identifies the person you’d like to manage your money if you are unable to make decisions for yourself, said Frye. Such legal documents grant that person legal authority to pay taxes on your behalf, borrow money, pay your bills, invest and handle bank transactions.”.

Ira K. Miller & Associates has over 35 years of experience in estate planning. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.  As the article says,, “[y]ou have to plan for the worst, and hope for the best”