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It’s been a grueling period 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 New York-based certified financial planner Lazetta Rainey Braxton, co-founder and co-CEO of 2050 Wealth Partners.
“Don’t get so wrapped up in the markets that you forget about your asset of you — 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 critical to have estate planning documents, including a will that dictates who will receive your assets upon death, and to keep your beneficiaries updated.
While a will outlines who receives certain types of property, 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 prompted a rise 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 were unable.
Estate planning can be a ‘gift to your family’
“There are some families that have a hard time talking about estate planning,” said Braxton, which can create a future burden for grieving families after someone passes because they must untangle the assets left behind, or the lack thereof.
While procrastination is the top reason why 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 opportunity to grow and transfer wealth, Braxton said.
“Be empowered by the joy that comes along in seeing what you do have, and give the next generation the opportunity to appreciate what they’re receiving,” she said.