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Why Your Wishes for the Future Just Can’t Wait

Don't put off creating a legacy plan

Make dinner. Sign your son’s permission slip. Book your family’s flight to visit your parents during the holidays. In today’s world, a to-do list can seem never-ending – with items that need immediate attention taking priority over longer-term needs. There’s always tomorrow to get those things done, right? 

But protecting what matters most to you – your family – can’t really wait. Especially since tomorrow is an unknown. In our recent survey, we found that while three out of four Americans (77%) believe estate and legacy strategies are important for everyone, fewer than a quarter (24%) are taking the most basic step of designating beneficiaries for all of their accounts. 

"Without an estate plan, your assets could be subject to the time-consuming, expensive and very public probate process," said Edward Jones Client Services Group Principal Ken Cella. "And you could risk losing control of what happens to important matters."

Additionally, the data showed a lack of urgency in prioritizing legacy planning conversations. Of Americans who work with financial advisors, 64% reported never having discussed estate goals and legacy plans with their financial advisors. Furthermore, only 34% of Millennials and Gen Xers have discussed their estate/legacy goals with their financial advisors, which increased only minimally for Baby Boomers (38%), the generation most likely to need estate plans in the near future. 

"No financial plan is complete without a legacy strategy, but there are steps individuals can take this week to make progress," added Scott Thoma, Principal in the Investment Strategy group at Edward Jones. "Designating beneficiaries on each of your appropriate accounts is the simplest and quickest way to get started. To ensure loved ones are taken care of, it’s crucial to review and update estate plans regularly, and most importantly, communicate these wishes to the beneficiaries throughout the process." 

Fortunately, Americans who do have estate and legacy plans in place are committed to updating them and involving their families in the process. Almost all Americans who have discussed their estate/legacy goals with their financial advisors have updated their plans since creating them (98%). Additionally, 61% involved their families the last time they reviewed their estate/legacy plans with their financial advisors, increasing to 74% for Americans with children. 

So what’s a busy person to do? Take the time to figure out your wishes now, and give your financial advisor a call. Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy – it’s for anyone who wants to help protect what they’ve worked hard to build. Together we’ll work with your team of legal and tax professionals to help ensure you maintain control – and help protect – what’s most important to you. 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 


The Edward Jones Leaving a Legacy Survey was conducted by Engine’s Online CARAVAN® Omnibus among a national sample of 2,007 adults comprising 1,003 men and 1,004 women 18 years old and older from July 22-28, 2019.

More Resources:

Leaving a Legacy – Planning Your Estate or Inheritance

The following list of questions will take you through estate-planning considerations, and it will help you prepare for a discussion with your financial advisor.

At what age should I start planning my estate?

Regardless of your age, we believe putting an estate strategy in place is an important step to help make sure your family, financial and medical affairs are taken care of if something were to happen to you.

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