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Survey: Many US Couples Have No Estate Plan

Paper cutout of a family standing on a legal document on a wooden table with a photo and warm backlight.

Having an estate plan is a key financial step for everyone, regardless of your wealth or financial situation. At its core, estate planning involves making decisions about what should happen after you pass away or become incapacitated and unable to make health-related or financial decisions on your own. Documenting these decisions is important to ensure your wishes are fulfilled.

Despite high levels of trust and shared financial goals, a recent study by Ameriprise Financial reveals that most American couples have yet to create an estate plan.

How many couples have an estate plan?

The Ameriprise Financial "Couples, Money &  Retirement" report found that American couples in committed relationships demonstrate a high level of trust and transparency when it comes to their finances. An impressive 95% of couples reported being honest and open with their partners about financial matters. Additionally, 91% said they share the same financial values.

Furthermore, 93% of couples agree on their retirement goals and the timing of their retirement. However, despite this strong foundation of trust and shared objectives, many couples have yet to reach a consensus on financial decisions.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents admitted they have not agreed on how much money they need to save for retirement or how much they should allocate to their children and grandchildren, both now and as part of their estate plans.

Despite high levels of trust and shared financial goals, more than half (52%) of the couples surveyed have not yet established an estate plan.

How do I make an estate plan?

Creating an estate plan involves several key steps. These are the key steps to getting started:

  • Take inventory of your assets: List all your assets, including real estate, investments, bank accounts, insurance policies, and personal property.
  • Determine your beneficiaries: Decide who you want to inherit your assets and in what proportions.
  • Choose an executor: Select a trusted person to manage the distribution of your assets and carry out the terms of your will.
  • Draft a will: A will is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets distributed after your death. Consider hiring an attorney to help you create a legally binding will.
  • Consider establishing a trust: A trust can help you manage your assets during your lifetime and distribute them after your death, often with more control and privacy than a will.
  • Plan for incapacity: Create a durable power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney to designate someone to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
  • Review beneficiary designations: Ensure that the beneficiaries listed on your retirement accounts, insurance policies, and other assets match your current wishes.

Don't wait to get started on your estate plan. Our attorneys can help

If you're among the majority of American couples who have yet to create an estate plan, now is the time to take action. Don't wait until it's too late to ensure your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are protected.

The experienced Arizona estate planning attorneys at The Law Firm of Brown & Jensen are here to guide you through the process. We can help you create a comprehensive plan tailored to your unique needs and goals.

We understand that estate planning can be a complicated and emotionally charged topic. This is why we offer personalized attention and customized solutions to each client. Contact us today for a free consultation and take the first step toward securing your legacy and protecting your family's future.

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