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Estate Plans vs. Wills: Safeguarding Your Legacy for the Golden Years and Beyond

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

The difference between a estate plan and will

Navigating the intricacies of financial planning can be a daunting task, especially when considering the legacy we wish to leave behind. As we transition from the bustling days of middle age to the serene moments of retirement, the question of how to best manage our assets becomes paramount. Two terms often come to the forefront:

Estate Plans and Wills. But what are they, and which is right for you?

Understanding the Basics of Estate Plans and Wills


A will is a legal document that clearly states how you want your property and assets to be distributed after your death. It’s a direct reflection of your wishes, ensuring that your belongings, no matter how big or small, go to the loved ones or causes you care about.

Estate Plans:

An estate plan is a comprehensive approach to managing your wealth, assets, and responsibilities. It not only includes the distribution of assets but also encompasses other elements like setting up trusts, designating power of attorney, and outlining healthcare directives.

Why Consider a Will?

  • Simplicity: A will is straightforward and to the point.

  • Control: You decide directly who gets what, from family heirlooms to real estate.

  • Limited Scope: A will doesn't cover everything, especially if you have a diverse asset portfolio.

  • Updates Needed: Major life events, like marriages or births, often necessitate changes to your will.

The All-Encompassing Estate Plan

  • Comprehensive: It covers nearly every aspect of your financial life.

  • Flexibility: Can be tailored to complex financial situations, ensuring all bases are covered.

  • Complexity: Setting up a thorough estate plan can be time-consuming and may require professional assistance.

  • Maintenance: As with a will, significant life changes might require updates to your estate plan.

Which is Right for You?

The decision between a will and an estate plan often boils down to the complexity of your assets and your personal preferences. If you have a straightforward asset portfolio and clear beneficiaries, a will might suffice. However, if you have diverse assets, multiple beneficiaries, or specific wishes regarding medical care or power of attorney, an estate plan offers a more holistic approach.

Conclusion: Planning for the Future

As we embrace the golden years, whether in the throes of retirement or enjoying the post-retirement phase, it's essential to have a clear plan in place. Our legacy is a culmination of our life's work, dreams, and aspirations. By choosing the right financial planning tools, we can ensure that our legacy is honored and cherished, just as we envisioned.

Remember, it's never too early or too late to start planning. Whether you're leaning towards a will or considering a comprehensive estate plan, the confidence that can come from safeguarding your legacy is priceless.

The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Stratos Wealth Partners and LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or services. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.

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