Is an estate strategy important if you're not wealthy? Most Americans seem to think so. In a Leaving a Legacy survey we conducted in July 2019, 77% of respondents believed that having an estate strategy is important. However, only 23% had taken the first basic step to prepare.
The simple thing you can do now: Name beneficiaries on your accounts. Naming beneficiaries on checking, savings, IRA and other accounts doesn't take much time, won't cost you any money and doesn't require a lawyer. If you haven't already taken care of that, contact your financial advisor to do so today.
Here are the next steps we recommend:
Create your plan. It's important to remember that if you don't have a plan in place, your estate could wind up in probate, causing your loved ones unnecessary hassle and stress. Work with your financial advisor to discuss your goals for your legacy and steps you might take to achieve them.
Review and update your plan. If you already have beneficiaries or a plan in place, it's important to review both regularly. As life changes, so might your beneficiaries and goals. The top three things survey respondents said their parents did or can do for them as beneficiaries were: having a will or legacy strategy in place, paying off all their current outstanding debt and telling them where their money and assets are held.
Share your wishes. It's important your loved ones know about your estate plan so they can follow your wishes. Only 49% of beneficiaries surveyed felt they had the information to confidently carry out a loved one's estate plan.
While these are important steps to follow, they are just a starting point. For more details, contact your financial advisor to discuss your legacy goals.
The Edward Jones Leaving a Legacy Survey was conducted by Engine's Online CARAVAN® Omnibus from July 22-28, 2019, to a national sample of 2,007 adults, comprising 1,003 men and 1,004 women 18 years of age and older.
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