What are your estate planning goals?

Long version

For some people, the words “estate planning” conjure images of wealthy individuals leaving their fortunes to lucky heirs. But in reality, you don’t have to be rich to require an estate plan – in fact, you need one if you have any assets at all. Furthermore, you should establish such a plan years before it’s likely to be needed, when you’re still in good health. But estate planning is a broad area, so how should you approach it?

Your first move should be identifying your goals. Here are some of the more common estate planning objectives:

  • Provide for your loved ones. Will your loved ones be provided for if you become incapacitated or pass away? You’ll want to be sure your estate plans will protect your children (especially minor children or adult children with special needs) and grandchildren, and possibly other relatives – siblings, nieces, nephews – who might need some financial help. There are many ways to accomplish this goal, and you’ll need to consider issues of fairness, but taking care of your family should always be at the top of your mind when creating your estate plans. One suggestion: Communicate your wishes clearly to all your loved ones when you’re creating your estate plans – it’s a good way to avoid hurt feelings and unpleasant surprises.
  • Protect assets going to a surviving spouse. Your estate plans will likely include assets going to your spouse – so you may want to take steps to protect these assets from creditors. One possible way of accomplishing this goal is to establish a revocable living trust and transfer your assets into it.
  • Control your assets. If you're going to meet your estate planning goals, you should consider how much control you want to maintain during your lifetime – and even after you’re gone. For example, you may have children or grandchildren whom you feel may not act wisely with the assets you leave them, possibly by spending the money too quickly and inappropriately – so, to prevent this, you can employ an estate planning tool, such as a trust, to have the funds paid out over time. Ultimately, the essence of estate planning is the control it gives you over all the resources it took you a lifetime to accumulate.
  • Support charitable groups without shortchanging your family. When you’d like to leave assets to your family and to charitable groups you support, it doesn’t have to be an “either-or” situation. An individual can establish what’s known as a charitable remainder trust that can generate income for a beneficiary, such as a family member, for a given number of years (typically, no more than 20) or for life, with the remainder of the funds going to a designated charity.

Estate planning can be complex, and to establish instruments such as a living trust or a charitable remainder trust, you will certainly need to work with a legal professional. You may also need to work with your tax and financial advisors. But above all else, have your goals in mind when you begin the estate planning process. By doing so, you’ll have a much clearer path toward meeting your goals.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Edward Jones, Member SIPC

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

Number of words: 517

Short/radio version

PSA: What are your estate planning goals?

TBA: May 12, 2021

Words: 180 (excluding FA’s name, address/phone number and disclaimer)

If you have any assets at all, you need an estate plan. But estate planning is a broad area, so how should you approach it?

Start by identifying your goals. A common first goal is providing for your loved ones. This includes making sure your estate plan protects your children, grandchildren and other family members.

Here’s another goal to consider: Take steps to protect assets going to a surviving spouse. Otherwise, these assets could be vulnerable to creditors.

Another important goal you may have is controlling your assets – even beyond your lifetime. If you think your children or grandchildren might not handle an inheritance wisely, you can take action to dispense the money gradually.

Finally, if you would like to support charitable groups, look for ways of doing so while still providing resources for your family.

You’ll need to work with a legal professional, and possibly your tax and financial advisors, to create your estate plans. But having your goals in mind when you begin the estate planning process can give you a much clearer path toward meeting your goals.

This content was provided by Edward Jones for use by (FA's NAME), your Edward Jones financial advisor at (Branch address or phone #).

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

Member SIPC