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Report Shows the Importance of Estate Planning for the Wealthy: Are You on Track?


Baby Boomers are expected to hand over more than $70 trillion in assets to their heirs. Many are concerned about making sure that their leftover assets go to the right people and purposes. And they may well be right to worry, according to a new study from Raymond James.

Even though 84% of the 1,000 individuals with $500,000 or more in investable assets report that they already have a documented estate plan, only 37% of these wealthy survey subjects say they feel “extremely prepared” when it comes to transferring their wealth after they die. For those working with a financial advisor, 52% feel prepared.

A financial advisor can help you establish an estate plan. Speak with a financial advisor today.

Baby Boomers Reveal Estate Planning Attitudes

The Raymond James study broke the core issues involved in estate planning into categories covering communication, philanthropy, taxes and creating a wealth transfer strategy that leaves them feeling confident their wishes will be implemented.

  • Communication: Maintaining family harmony was a big priority for 87% of the respondents and was extremely important to 60% of those surveyed. Seven out of every 10 said that having a conversation with a loved one before leaving a significant inheritance was important, 89% emphasized being transparent about managing the expectations of family members. Nearly half of those surveyed – 45% – said they were worried about their heirs being prepared to handle an inheritance.
  • Philanthropy: Making “a positive philanthropic impact” was rated important by 54% of the respondents, with 20% saying they felt it was extremely important. When it came to giving big, 12% said they would leave more than a quarter of their assets to charitable causes.
  • Taxes: When it comes to keeping as much of their wealth as possible out of the hands of the tax man, 1 whopping 91% of those surveyed said that tax efficiency is an important aspect of planning their estates. However, a much smaller percentage felt that their estate plan was prepared when it comes to tax strategies, with 69% saying they were either “somewhat” or “very” interested in learning more about managing the tax consequences of transferring their wealth. 
  • Preparation: 84% of the survey subjects who said they had created a documented estate plan work with a financial advisor, compared with 66% of those who weren’t working with a planner. People working with an advisor reported higher rates of incorporating tax-efficient strategies in their plans (68%) and feeling extremely prepared with their plan (52%). That compares to 50% of respondents who didn’t work with experts employing tax-efficient plans and just 37% saying they felt extremely prepared to transfer their wealth. A large majority (82%) of respondents said that working with a financial advisor had increased their level of confidence in creating their estate plan. 

Bottom Line

Plan how to pass on accumulated wealth to minimize losses to taxes and ensure that the assets are distributed according to your wishes. Both potential heirs and those passing wealth down to the next generation should communicate to set realistic expectations. 

Estate Planning Tips 

  • One way to get help planning how to pass on or handle an inheritance is to work with a financial advisor who can help you answer all your questions about retirement options. 
  • Do you need help with estate planning? A financial advisor can aid you in the process. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.