Report: Most Americans Have No 'Legacy' Plan

While many Americans are struggling with retirement planning, an even greater number is neglecting post-retirement planning--i.e. legacy or estate planning. A new survey from Edward Jones Financial Services finds a large majority of adults don't have their affairs in order, so to speak. "Only 24 percent, or 1 out of 4 Americans, have taken the most basic step for creating a legacy strategy, which is designating beneficiaries on their accounts...they're not doing that," says Deborah Stelly, financial advisor with Edward Jones.

Stelly tells KTRH that legacy planning is not just for older people or those with a lot of financial assets. "If you have minor children and dependents, or if you want to be in control of your own healthcare decisions, it's really important to have (a legacy plan) in place," she says.

For the 76 percent who haven't begun estate or legacy planning, there are some basic steps to get started. "First and foremost, designate beneficiaries or update them on your 401(k)s, IRAs, and bank accounts," says Stelly. "Then, everyone needs to review their financial plan and estate documents every 3 to 5 years...your wishes may have changed, children may have aged, etc."

Or you can start by speaking to family members about your legacy plans and then speaking with a financial advisor about how to put those plans into action.

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