Seventy-two percent of retirees say that becoming a burden to their families is one of their biggest fears, yet only 28% of Americans over 65 have started to discuss their end-of-life care preferences with anyone, including their families.1
Consider these three common estate-planning scenarios to get started.
1. If you want to transfer your assets to family members during life or at death:
- Create a will to ensure your assets go to the people you intend to have them (note that even if you have a will, your estate will still go through probate).2
- Use beneficiary designations – or establish transfer on death (TOD) agreements for accounts where you cannot name beneficiaries—to automatically move your assets to those you designate without probate costs or delays.
- For more control over how your assets are distributed and potentially used, work with an attorney to create a trust to describe how you want your assets used or distributed during your lifetime or after you pass away.
2. If you want someone to make financial and medical decisions for you if you’re incapacitated:
- Set up a durable financial power of attorney to give someone the authority to make financial decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself.
- Establish a health care power of attorney to give someone the authority to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself.
- Create a living will or an advance directive to state your wishes for end-of-life medical care in case you cannot communicate your decisions.
3. If you want to leave your wealth to charitable organizations at death:
- Leave money to a charity in your will or trust, or name the organization as a beneficiary of any assets you own.
- Name the charity as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy or retirement plan.
Getting started with estate planning can seem daunting, but it can bring peace of mind to your loved ones during a challenging time.
2 Probate is a court-supervised process in which a deceased individual’s property is transferred to the beneficiaries identified in their will, or to their heir(s) if the individual died without a will.
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.