Who will inherit your assets?

Most of us aren’t wealthy enough to fret over who gets our 40’ yacht after we’re gone. But let’s face it – even if we don’t have yachts or mansions, we should all do some serious estate planning. Some of us are new to estate planning; others know it’s important, but they haven’t yet put a plan in place.

I don’t know where to start. Plus I’m not married, and I don’t have kids
Reading this article is a great place to start if you’re brand new to estate planning. You’ll see why it’s so important to determine what your assets are – even if you don’t think you need to based on your life situation – and how to go about assigning them to your loved ones. The lists and information below will get you started.

I’m too busy right now
You keep putting it off, don’t you? Don’t feel bad. No one wants to talk about their final preparations for a life well lived. And sitting down to make that plan doesn’t sound like a party, does it? You’re not alone.

How many Americans have a will anyway?
According to a Gallup poll taken in 2021, 46% of Americans have a will. Gallup has been taking this poll since the ‘90s and the results are similar. They find that the older you are – age 65 and up – the more likely you are to have a will (76%). When they polled people ages 18-29, they found that only 20% had wills.

If you need help writing your will, try Washington Wills. The website has free forms and instructions.

How do I know what my assets are?
There are lots of things to consider when you start working on your plan. A checklist is a great place to start.

Your list should include assets that have a physical value:

  • House
  • Furniture
  • Collectibles
  • Jewelry
  • Other physical assets

Non-physical assets you should include on your list:

  • Retirement accounts, such as your DRS pension benefit and Deferred Compensation Program account
  • Annuities
  • IRAs
  • Life insurance
  • Savings

How do I designate my beneficiaries with DRS?
A beneficiary is a person or institution you wish to will a piece of your estate to. At DRS, we want you to keep your beneficiary designation up to date. About 1/3 of DRS customers don’t have a beneficiary on file! Your retirement account can be affected by changes in your marital status. If you marry or divorce before you retire, you need to update your beneficiary, even if your beneficiary remains the same. And if you are married and name someone other than your spouse as your beneficiary, retirement system laws may require DRS to pay your spouse.

It’s also important to understand the difference between a survivor and a beneficiary. Don’t worry if it sounds confusing; we have solid resources to help you.

What should I do next?
There are various kinds of wills and trusts. Each kind serves a different purpose. There are also state laws and other factors you may want to consider when creating and updating your estate plan. An estate planning attorney can discuss these nuances and options with you. To learn more about the basics of how to keep your things in the hands of your loved ones and your loved ones in good hands, view the Voya Learn video “Protect your finances and family with an estate plan,” at voya.com/page/on-demand/protect-your-finances-and-family-estate-plan. Please consult your tax or legal advisor before making a tax-related investment/insurance decision. DRS cannot provide assistance or legal advice.

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