It may come as a surprise to some that most Americans have not taken the most basic steps toward planning for their legacy. According to a recent survey by financial services firm Edward Jones, 77% of Americans believe that estate and legacy strategies are important for everyone, not just wealthy individuals, yet only 24% of Americans are taking the most basic step of designating beneficiaries for all of their accounts.
DESIGNATE BENEFICIARIES: More than half (62%) of Americans have not designated beneficiaries for any of their accounts.
MEET WITH YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISOR: Nearly two thirds of Americans who said that they have worked with a financial advisor reported never having discussed estate goals and legacy plans with their financial advisor, demonstrating a lack of urgency in making these financial conversations a priority.
REVIEW AND UPDATE YOUR PLAN: As beneficiaries, survey respondents indicated the top three most important things their parents did or can do for them before they die include: having a will/legacy strategy in place, paying off all their current outstanding debt, and telling them where their money and assets are held.
COMMUNICATE YOUR WISHES TO YOUR FAMILY: Part of reviewing and updating your plan includes communicating with your beneficiaries, which is key to ensuring that your estate goes to those you care about most.
MORE ABOUT ALISON CARNIE
Alison Carnie serves as director of Trust Services and chief administration officer of the Edward Jones Trust Company. In this role, she is responsible for the delivery of trust new business support, trust administration, estate settlement services, and trust special asset administration. Carnie received her bachelor' s degree in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and received a Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University School of Law.