Defining your legacy

If you're married, you may own many of your financial assets jointly with your spouse, which can help simplify things in the event you pass away. But what about assets that are in your name only? Or, what if you're single or widowed? 

Many women own assets they hope to pass on to loved ones and causes they care about. Ensuring that your assets are handled according to your wishes requires planning ahead. Yet, two common misconceptions prevent many people from taking adequate steps.

Myth 1: I have a will. That’s all I need.

A will takes effect only upon your death. Wills don't protect the legacy you've built if you become incapacitated. Nor can they cover how your wealth should be handled once your beneficiaries receive it.

Myth 2: Estate planning is for people with a lot of money

A desire to make things easier for your family has nothing to do with your net worth. Documenting and communicating your wishes reduces the burden on loved ones and gives you control.

Three reasons to establish an estate strategy

  1. An estate strategy gives you control. At its most basic, an estate plan lets you decide how things will be handled rather than the state. You decide how you will take care of yourself and the people and causes you care about. 
  2. An estate strategy may help you preserve the value of what you’ve worked so hard for. Without proper planning, a significant portion of your assets could go to taxes or unnecessary expenses. 
  3. An estate strategy is designed to make things easier for your family because you can clearly spell out your wishes.

Start by educating yourself

Becoming educated about estate considerations as well as your various options is the first step. Here are some common tools you may wish to discuss with an estate-planning attorney:

  • Health care directive, or living will – A living will allows you to specify actions to take for your health in the event you become unable to make decisions for yourself.
  • Health care power of attorney – With a health care power of attorney, you can name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, such as requesting or refusing medical treatment.
  • Trust – A trust can be set up to address a variety of needs, from supporting charities to setting guidelines about how your assets are distributed to your heirs. Learn more.

How we can help

No one wants her loved ones to face burdens because she didn't adequately prepare. While Edward Jones does not offer estate-planning services, we care about everything that's important to you. So, working with you, your attorney and your tax professional, we can help build financial strategies that take your legacy wishes into consideration.