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How Do I Get Started With My Estate Plan?


The idea of putting together an estate strategy may sound complicated, but it doesn't have to be. We can help you break the process into smaller pieces. The first steps are to identify where you are today and where you want to be.

Step 1: Where am I today?

Make a list of everything you own. Your financial advisor can help you group your assets, and can also help you make beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts, insurance policies and annuities and make sure they're up-to-date.

Things to consider:

  • Investment and retirement accounts (IRAs, 401(k)s, brokerage accounts)
  • Cash or checking/savings accounts
  • Real estate
  • Personal property (automobiles, boats, jewelry, artwork)
  • Insurance policies or annuity contracts
  • Current estate documents, including:
    • Wills
    • Powers of attorney
    • Health care directives
    • Trusts
    • Other related legal documents

Step 2: Where would I like to be?

Identify your goals.

Your financial advisor can help you begin to answer these questions and prioritize what's most important to you. Don't be intimidated – this is just a conversation to help you get started.

  • What do you want to leave to your heirs?
  • Do you want to leave money to charity?
  • Are efficiency and privacy important to you?
  • Are you concerned about estate taxes?
  • Do you have a minor child or a child with special needs?
  • Do you have specific wishes or desires you would like to ensure happen if you were incapacitated or pass away?
  • Who would you like to handle your affairs if you become unable to handle them for yourself?

Step 3: Work with your team of professionals

We believe an estate-planning team provides a comprehensive and streamlined approach to developing a strategy that works for you. Each member of your team will have a different area of expertise:

  • Your financial advisor helps you understand the process, prioritize your goals and coordinate your estate-planning team. We can also discuss how your investment and estate strategies can work together.
  • Your attorney reviews your estate-planning options and drafts legal documents.
  • Your tax professional or CPA advises you on the tax implications of your strategies.

How we can help

Ask your financial advisor today about how you can work together to begin creating your personal estate strategy.

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 lawyer or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

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