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Don't Leave Your Legacy to Chance

Most of us know we need a will. We know we should have an estate plan. We know how important life insurance is.

We know.

Yet, many of us don’t do anything about it. Sadly, most people die without a will or estate plan in place.

In fact, according to the 2024 Wills and Estate Planning Survey from, only one in three Americans even has a will. This is a 6% decline from 2023, and it’s the first year since the start of the pandemic that the number has gone down.

Life can be unpredictable. While we may not like to think about it, planning for an unknown future is essential.

Want to learn more? Join our webinar about protecting your legacy through proper estate planning.

What's the difference between wills and estate plans?

A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for after you die, including how your assets will be distributed. It can also name guardians for your minor children. Think of it as a set of instructions for the future.

An estate plan is a broader concept that encompasses a variety of documents and strategies. It includes your will, and may also involve trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives. An estate plan helps manage your assets and care for you while you're alive as well as after you're gone.

Attorneys and financial advisers work together to craft a personalized estate plan that aligns your wishes with your financial resources.

If you're thinking about creating an estate plan but haven't done it yet, here are 10 benefits of putting a plan in place.

  1. Control who inherits your assets.

    An estate plan allows you to decide exactly who receives your belongings, rather than leaving it up to the state.

  2. Plan for your children.

    With a will or trust, you can designate guardians to care for your children if you die while they're young.

  3. Minimize family conflicts.

    A clear estate plan can help prevent arguments and disagreements among loved ones about your wishes.

  4. Reduce probate costs.

    Probate is the legal process of distributing assets after death. An estate plan helps streamline the process and save your heirs money.

  5. Protect your assets.

    Safeguards can potentially shield assets from creditors, lowering probate costs and taxes, and offering some protection from lawsuits.

  6. Choose your healthcare proxy.

    Designate someone who can make medical decisions for you if you're incapacitated.

  7. Plan for incapacity.

    In addition to healthcare decisions, you can name someone to manage your finances and property if you become unable to do so yourself.

  8. Minimize taxes.

    Estate planning can help reduce the amount of taxes your heirs owe on your inheritance.

  9. Leave a legacy.

    Take the opportunity to express your wishes and values, and ensure your charitable contributions are carried out.

  10. Peace of mind.

    Knowing your affairs are in order can give you and your loved ones peace of mind.

Even knowing the reasons, there’s still a major disconnect between the importance of estate planning and people actually taking action.

Let’s challenge the thinking on estate planning.

Myth: Only the wealthy need estate planning, and I'm not wealthy.

This is a big one! Estate planning is a good idea for everyone over 18 with any assets. Even if you don't have much, a plan ensures your wishes are known and avoids confusion for loved ones.

Myth: A will is all I need.

While a will is a key part of estate planning, it may not be enough. For example, putting a trust in place can be useful for asset protection, managing distributions to beneficiaries, or minimizing probate costs.

Myth: Estate planning is too expensive.

The cost of estate planning varies depending on your situation, but it's generally not as expensive as people think. In the long run, a good estate plan can actually save your family money by avoiding probate delays and minimizing taxes.

Myth: Estate planning is only about what happens after I die.

While inheritance is a major part, estate planning also allows you to designate someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you're incapacitated, and plan for the management of your finances if you can't do it yourself.

Myth: I'm young and healthy, so I don't need an estate plan.

No one knows what tomorrow holds. Having an estate plan, even a simple one, gives you peace of mind and ensures your wishes are carried out in case of the unexpected.

As we shift our approach to estate planning, remember: An estate plan isn't just for the wealthy. It’s not just for older people. It's a powerful tool that can benefit everyone, regardless of age or assets.

Ask yourself, “What’s holding me back?” Whether it’s time, money, or not knowing what to do, we have two options for taking your first step.

  1. Watch our webinar on estate planning.

    This is one of our most popular Financial Academy sessions each year, with loads of valuable information for you and your family.

  2. Set up a free session with a OneDigital adviser.

    We can guide you through the steps and make it easier to put your plan in place.

We know, you’ll be glad you did. It’s one of those things that you put off for a long time, only to find it wasn’t nearly as bad as you thought it would be.

Investment advice offered through OneDigital Investment Advisors LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser and wholly-owned subsidiary of OneDigital.