The longstanding goal of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (“NAEPC”) is to help people understand what estate planning is and to understand why estate planning is such an essential aspect to your financial wellbeing. To help promote that goal, NAEPC started National Estate Planning Awareness Week in 2008, and here at Edwards we have been promoting awareness of this week since 2015. Unfortunately, recent studies show we need to raise our voices.
A recent survey by D.A. Davidson & Co., cited by Michael S. Fisher*, shared the unfortunate finding that only 34% of American adults have an estate plan, and that 59% of men and 72% of women have failed to complete an estate plan. And even if you have a plan, only 20% of those surveyed have updated the plan in the past five years. Think of what’s happened in the past five years!
The survey also showed the ongoing fallacy that estate planning is only for the wealthy, finding that 37% of those surveyed believed that they didn’t have enough money to warrant a plan. However, regardless of wealth, most people have an idea of how they would like their assets distributed in the event of a death or who they would prefer to make decisions for them in the event of incapacity. This desire for control is the true purpose for estate planning, not wealth.
For those of you with a financial advisor, however, the numbers are a little better. Of those surveyed who work with a financial advisor, 56% had a plan in place, and those who work with an advisor reported more confidence and preparedness to discuss their estate planning than those without an advisor.
These are difficult topics to say the least, but your Edwards team is here to help. You can collaborate with your legal advisor and your financial advisor to help build, review or update your plan. As a planning-based financial investment firm, we have numerous educational materials to help guide you along the way, including internal experts to consult on your specific situation.
It’s often said that failing to plan is planning to fail. Take the initiative to create and update your estate plan so your intentions are known and can be followed. You and your family will appreciate the comfort of a proper plan. Ask your financial advisor how to help you get started.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES: The information provided is based on internal and external sources that are considered reliable; however, the accuracy of this information is not guaranteed. This piece is intended to provide accurate information regarding the subject matter discussed. It is made available with the understanding that Benjamin F. Edwards is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or tax preparation services. Specific questions on taxes or legal matters as they relate to your individual situation should be directed to your tax or legal professional.