Three ways to list the ones you love

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  A young child runs up the front steps of a large house to greet his grandmother as his mom watches and smiles.

When it comes to your investment strategy, you’ve likely left little to chance. So why gamble with who might control your finances if you’re no longer able to do so?

Your financial advisor can help you set up the following:

1. Beneficiaries: where your money goes after you’re gone

One of the easiest ways to make sure your assets go to the people you intend is to name them as beneficiaries. You might think your will has this covered or that your family will automatically get what you want them to have. That might not be the case, however.

By naming beneficiaries, you’ll also help your loved ones avoid probate (the legal process of distributing your estate). This could save them time and money.

Retirement accounts, life insurance policies and annuities typically allow you to assign beneficiaries. Brokerage accounts don’t automatically include beneficiary designations, but your financial advisor can set up a Transfer on Death (TOD) agreement, which will name the person to whom the assets should go.

2. Power of attorney: making decisions on your behalf

A power of attorney (POA) appoints someone who can decide for you if you’re unable to do so. There are several types of POAs:

  1. Traditional – Ends with your disability or death.

  2. Durable – Continues if you become incapacitated but ends at your death.

  3. Financial – Allows someone to make decisions about your assets.

  4. Health care – Allows someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Your financial advisor can work with you and your attorney to ensure you have more information about POAs and how they work.

3. Trusted contact: another layer of protection

At Edward Jones, you can add a trusted contact to your accounts. This is simply someone your financial advisor can contact if he or she:

  1. Is unable to reach you.

  2. Needs to confirm your legal guardian, executor, trustee or POA if he or she suspects someone is trying to exploit you.

  3. Wants to check on your health status if he or she believes your financial affairs are at risk.

Your trusted contact is just that – another contact for your accounts. He or she can’t transact business on your behalf, make trades in your accounts or withdraw money.

Keeping it all current

It’s a good idea to review your choices after a major life event – for example, when you marry, divorce or have a child. This can help ensure you’ve included those who are most important to your life and your finances.