Americans Are Against the Estate Tax, But Do They Understand It?

Americans Are Against the Estate Tax, But Do They Understand It?

A recent Gallup poll about tax reform asked Americans a variety of questions about proposed changes to a tax system that many see as outdated. One of the most interesting results came in response to a question about eliminating the estate tax.

A full 54 percent of those polled were in favor of eliminating the estate tax paid when a person dies. The same group, however, was even more solidly in favor of eliminating tax deductions and loopholes for the very rich. While only 26 percent of those polled said they didn’t know enough about the estate tax to have an opinion, the responses to these two questions lead some to believe that Americans are not fully educated on the estate tax.

The truth is, only a tiny percentage of American estates are subject to the estate tax.  Far from being a universal tax on the estates of all Americans, the federal estate tax applies only to the wealthiest Americans. As of 2016, the tax only applies to estates worth more than $5.45 million and this threshold increases every year.  Further, through financial planning, a married couple can protect up to $10.9 million from the federal estate tax.

So, most Americans are not subject to the federal estate tax, and many live in states with no estate tax. Like the majority of states, Florida does not tax the estates of the deceased or inheritances of their heirs, no matter how large they are.

While many people think they know enough about wills and estate planning, it is important to consult an experienced estate planning attorney to help you draft a will and find the best ways to pass your wealth and assets on to the family members or beneficiaries of your choice. To learn more, speak with a skilled Tampa estate planning attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.