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It was a grueling time for investors amid rising interest rates and lingering recession fears.
But despite market volatility, it’s still important to think holistically about your finances, including your estate plan, according to Lazetta Rainey Braxton, New York-based certified financial planner, co-founder and co-CEO of 2050 Wealth Partners. .
“Don’t get so caught up in the markets that you forget your asset — and how you can best protect your money and your legacy,” said Braxton, who is also a member of CNBC’s Financial Advisor Council.
Braxton said it’s essential to have estate planning documents, including a will that dictates who will receive your assets upon death, and to keep your beneficiaries informed.
While a will outlines who receives certain types of assets, other assets pass to heirs through your beneficiary designations, such as bank accounts, 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts, life insurance policies and annuities.
While Covid-19 has caused an increase in estate planning, nearly 66% of American adults still don’t have a will, according to a 2023 survey from Caring.com.
Braxton said it’s also important to have documents for powers of attorney, allowing someone to make financial or health care decisions on your behalf if you aren’t able to.
Estate planning can be a “gift for your family”
“Some families find it difficult to talk about estate planning,” Braxton said, which can create a future burden for grieving families after someone’s death as they have to sort out assets left behind or lack thereof.
While procrastination is the number one reason Americans haven’t completed an estate plan, others believe they don’t have enough assets to protect, according to the same Caring.com survey.
However, estate planning can be a “gift to your family,” with the potential to grow and transfer wealth, Braxton said.
“Be motivated by the joy that comes with seeing what you have and give the next generation the opportunity to appreciate what they are getting,” she said.