What Is an Estate Strategy — And Do I Need One?

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You may think that only people who are "wealthy" or have complicated family situations need an estate strategy, but that's not the case.

We believe that no matter what your net worth, you can benefit from working with a team of professionals to create an estate strategy that aligns with your wishes for the future. That's because without a proactive estate strategy, decisions about the care of your children, your assets and your health care may likely be controlled by state law and the courts.

Your financial advisor can help walk you through the process, prioritize your goals and work to coordinate your team of tax and legal professionals to help ensure your personal estate goals are met. We can also help ensure your investment strategy is aligned with your estate strategy.

Key pieces of an estate strategy

For some, an estate strategy is as simple as a written will. For others, it can include several documents that work together to outline your wishes when it comes to finances and medical care – both during life and afterwards.

So, what's best for you? It all depends on your life and what's important to you. But here are some quick facts on the common types of documents or strategies that you should discuss with your attorney.

  • Will - Though it can come in many forms, a will provides direction for the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children after your death.
  • Living Trust - Assets you register into a revocable living trust can be managed by your named trustee if you become incapacitated and may bypass probate at your death.
  • Power of Attorney - Allows you to name a person or entity to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself (in cases of incapacity, etc.).
  • Health Care Directive - With a health care directive (sometimes called an advanced directive), you can direct how you'd like your future medical care handled. This includes your wishes regarding life-prolonging care, certain medicines, etc.
  • Beneficiary Designations - Some types of investment accounts and insurance policies allow you to designate a beneficiary to receive their proceeds at your death. These designations usually supersede your will's instructions and can bypass probate.

How we can help

This is just a starting point to decide what may make sense for you. Talk with your financial advisor to help get the process started with your team of legal and tax professionals today.

Important Information:

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.

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