Here’s Why You May Need to Update Your Estate Plan
Estate planning—the process for how you transfer your wealth to heirs and others—can be very
important for anyone who wants to be certain that their loved ones are adequately provided for
and taken care of. When done well, estate planning aims both to allow you to pass on your
assets as you see fit, and to minimize the state and federal tax bite that often accompanies the
transfer of significant wealth.
Even if you are not subject to estate taxes or don’t have family, estate planning can potentially
enable you to decide which people and charitable organizations will receive your wealth at your
death. Failing to plan can mean that you will let the government make those decisions—and we
find that few people are fond of that choice!
But if you think that your current estate plan is up to those tasks, you might want to think again.
Here’s why your estate plan may need to be refreshed.
Most estate plans are old—and potentially outdated
First, some good news: Eight out of ten affluent individuals (those with investable assets of
$500,000 or more) in one survey by AES Nation had some sort of estate plan in place.
Here’s the less sanguine news: Even if you have an estate plan, you may not be nearly as well
prepared as you think you are for transferring wealth according to your wishes. That’s because
more than half of the estate plans these affluent individuals have in place are more than three
years old (see Exhibit 1).