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Black Americans - We Did Better, but Still Have a Way to Go with Passing on Our Wealth

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BOSTON - eTradeWire -- Two years ago, I wrote an op-ed calling on Black Americans to create their estate plans, documents like  including wills and/or  living trusts. The fantastic news: a recent study by Caring.com shows that almost 20% more Black Americans had completed their wills than three years ago. I won't take credit, but will say, "great job!" That is a fantastic increase, but like usual, we aren't done yet. The study shows we are on about par with how many white households are doing estate planning. As hard as we worked to get it, we need to do better  at protecting our wealth and our next generation's future.

Don't let our wishes be lost. More of us need wills and trusts, as an estate plan gives us a voice even when we can't speak for ourselves. And, for those of us with estate plans now, we need to keep them current and updated to make sure they are evergreen. Through estate planning we choose our advocates, provide them with instructions to follow, and  enable them to honor our choices. We need to take control and ensure  choices about our medical care, finances, and even who physically cares for us are all handled by the people we trust most, not by those the courts assign.

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Estate planning is now something for everyone as it is affordable and easily accessible. Online options exist, making estate planning just a few clicks away. Estate planning is a legal specialty so going to reputable places that specialize in this area of law can be especially important. Gentreo, www.gentreo.com, the company for which I am an advisor, specializes in estate planning and works to follow each state's laws as they change.

Not only do state laws change, but your life changes. From new babies and grandchildren to marriages and divorces to moving to new states, life inflection points require us to routinely update our documents. If you want to stay on top of changes, another benefit of online estate planning is that many companies let you make adjustments as often as you need to, without charging extra fees.

Don't let yours be one of the families we read about that loses their home to long lost relatives who appear out of nowhere. Don't let yours be one the families that spends years in court trying to prove property is yours/theirs. Don't let yours be one of the families that has to ask the court for permission to see a dying relative.

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We've made great progress in just three years in getting more Black Americans to do their estate planning. Now is not the time to stop. We must continue to plan for ourselves and for our next generations. Wealth is something many aspire to, and we need to take the steps that are now readily available to build and protect that wealth.

Here is my call to action: let's educate and create. Learn, read, watch videos and do. Let's protect our choices and our legacies, #SecureOurLegacy.

Julie Fry

Source: Gentreo
Filed Under: Business, Consumer, Financial

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