Celebrating National Estate Planning Awareness Week: October 17–23, 2022

National Estate Planning Awareness Week is observed annually to educate the public about estate planning and why it’s important to achieve financial wellness.

Estate planning is defined as the growth, conservation, and transfer of an individual’s wealth through an estate plan. The goal is to develop a strategy for financial security during life as well as to plan for transferring assets at death to your intended beneficiaries. Individuals have a variety of goals, including passing their assets to family, friends, and charitable organizations.

It is estimated that more than half of Americans — 56 percent — do not have an estate plan that is up to date. Common excuses for not having a plan include these:

  • Excuse #1: “I am too young.”
    If you are aged 18 or older and of sound mind, you can — and should — create a plan.
  • Excuse #2: “I have a will I signed years ago.”
    Wills do not expire, but circumstances can change — and wills need to be reviewed and possibly updated when you move, have children, or amass assets.
  • Excuse #3: “I own all of my property jointly.”
    Homes, bank accounts, and other assets are often owned jointly, but almost everyone owns an asset in his or her individual name (a car, personal property, collectibles) that requires a will to transfer at death.
  • Excuse #4: “I am not wealthy enough to have a will.”
    Unless you own absolutely nothing, you should have a will to transfer what you do own to your intended beneficiaries.
  • Excuse #5: “It’s too complicated.”
    While putting together an estate plan requires some effort, not having an estate plan creates complications for your heirs and can result in added expense, delays, and discontent among family members.
  • Excuse #6: The government provides for where my assets go.
    This is true under state statutes, but most people would not choose for their assets to pass as the government directs.

Advisers who can assist you with an estate plan include attorneys, accountants, financial advisers, trust officers, and life insurance agents. Common documents that are drafted include a will, a revocable trust, a durable power of attorney, a health care proxy, and a living will.

Let National Estate Planning Week inspire you to ensure your personal and charitable objectives by creating or updating your estate plan today.

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