Are You in Control of Your Legacy?

Dad reading to daughter in tent

A proactive estate strategy will place you – not state law or courts – in control of decisions about the care of your children, your assets and your health care.

Whose strategy do you want – yours or the state’s?

Without an established estate strategy, the laws of your state become your “strategy” by default, which may not align with your desires. Every state has statutes dictating where assets will be passed after a person’s death, how to handle the decisions of an incapacitated person, and how the court will select a person to be in charge of these decisions. Even considering this, only slightly more than half of Americans have a will or trust in place, leaving control of their minor children and their assets to state law and the courts.1

Engaging a fee-based trust company

Strict federal and state laws govern the implementation of trusts, requiring trustees to perform certain duties for investments, administration, communication, accounting and confidentiality. Some individuals may want to delegate these legal responsibilities to an outside entity, such as a fee-based trust company, rather than maintain them or pass them along to a family member. Some services provided by these firms may include managing non-financial assets, withdrawal analysis and investment planning. Edward Jones Trust Company provides professional trust services, including serving as trustee or co-trustee, successor trustee or managing agent.

It’s about control

Ultimately, developing an estate strategy is not merely about wealth. It’s about putting you in control of your legacy, ensuring the items most important to you are cared for as you intend. Additionally, having a strategy in place can help ensure your wishes are followed in an orderly and structured manner, reducing potential delays and conflicts that could arise among your beneficiaries.

Understanding trade-offs

Estate planning often will require you to prioritize your goals and make some trade-offs. For example, there is often a trade-off between strategy simplicity and level of control. Transfer on Death agreements (TODs) and beneficiary designations are often simpler to implement but offer little control over taxes and/or the beneficiary’s use of funds. If you want more control over these items, trusts may provide more options. However, these options may bring additional cost and complexity, and your decisions could even become irrevocable, depending on the strategy. It’s important to discuss all of these considerations with an estate-planning attorney.

Establishing your estate is simply not something that can wait – by taking the time to prepare now, you can help ensure some comfort for the future. The Edward Jones Trust Company can help you determine your estate and legacy goals, both personal and financial. Additionally, we will work closely with your financial advisor and other estate and tax professionals to develop a comprehensive strategy for your situation and goals.

Important information:

1 “What Do Americans Think About Estate Planning?” WealthCounsel, 2016 Estate Planning Awareness Survey.

Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your estate-planning attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

Trust and related services are provided by Edward Jones Trust Company, an affiliate of Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P. (Edward Jones), a registered broker-dealer. Edward Jones Trust Company and Edward Jones are subsidiaries of the Jones Financial Companies, L.L.L.P. Edward Jones Trust Company may use Edward Jones or other affiliates to act as a broker-dealer for transactions or for other services. Payments of such services generally will be charged as an expense to the trust and will not reduce the amount of fees payable to Edward Jones Trust Company.

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