By Erika Apelis
A recent poll by Edward Jones has uncovered an alarming statistic: 64% of individuals or families working with a financial advisor have not discussed an estate plan with a professional. At the same time, the poll also found that approximately 77% of individuals participating saw the benefit of estate plans for everyone, not just the wealthy. Despite this, only 24% took basic estate planning steps such as designating beneficiaries on accounts. While it is reassuring that so many of those surveyed recognize the value of estate planning, the lack of follow through is concerning.
I frequently discuss the importance of planning with individuals, families and clients. Most are completely in the dark when it comes to the chaos and stress that loved ones experience because of a failure to properly plan. Most individuals have real estate, cars and financial accounts with multiple banks or financial institutions, as well as personal possessions. When someone passes away, it is often extremely difficult to obtain information regarding financial accounts. Without an estate plan, a probate estate is necessary for authority to access this information.
When I work with my clients and their families, we plan to avoid the probate process entirely. It is time-consuming, emotionally exhausting and costly. It is far more efficient to draft a proper estate plan with an attorney and designate the necessary beneficiaries. It is more cost-effective to draft a plan with an attorney, avoiding the expense of a probate estate – which can be sizable with an average amount of assets. The cost of a probate estate affects your loved ones and decreases their ultimate inheritance. A proper estate plan with a trust or beneficiary designations also expedites the process, giving your loved ones access to their inheritance much faster. On the other hand, a probate estate exposes your assets to the public docket, while trusts or beneficiary designations remain private.
Thinking about estate planning is a difficult topic, but a necessary one. KJK’s Wealth & Estate Planning team is here to walk you through this difficult process and make planning a less stressful experience. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, contact Erika Apelis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216.716.5637.
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